Physical therapist: Artificial turf unlikely to blame for Rodgers' injury

Physical therapist: Artificial turf unlikely to blame for Rodgers’ injury

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Milwaukee physical therapist said there's no evidence Aaron Rodgers' injury would not have happened on a grass field.

Packers lineman David Bakhtiari and other athletes were quick to blame the turf for Rodgers' injury.

But experts say advancements in turf technology have made the artificial fields comparable to grass; add in easier maintenance and consistent playing surface and it's clear why so many high schools, colleges, and pro teams have them.

South Milwaukee HS Athletic Director Ante Udovicic said, "They have yet to see a reason they don't think this is the nicest field they've played on."

South Milwaukee's new black turf field has been turning heads the past few weeks. But as administrators scouted fields throughout the Midwest over the last few years, looks were not the only factor considered.

Udovicic said, "We really looked into everything we possibly could, and safety was a big concern."

He added the most valuable thing turf fields provide is consistency.

Grass fields are harder to maintain at lower levels, and often have ruts, divots, or holes. And it's difficult to keep the surface level with multiple football, soccer, and lacrosse games each week, plus dance performances and other activities.

Udovicic said, "You absolutely have a truer playing surface, or marching surface or dancing surface, to have under you with an artificial turf field."

But a physical therapist told us turf fields may no longer be the scapegoat the pros think they are.

Dan Enz, with UW Health, said, "I don't think we can say with certainty that the grass would have prevented it."

Enz told us turf fields have gotten much better in recent years and are now very similar to real grass. "I think with how he was being sacked, I don't necessarily think there would have been a difference from grass versus turf in this specific injury."

Back in South Milwaukee, Udovicic said head injuries were also considered, especially when cold fall temperatures in Wisconsin can harden the ground. "On the whole, you're absolutely going to be in a much better spot for safety."

There was another season-ending Achilles injuries this past weekend: Ravens running back JK Dobbins tore his Achilles tendon. But unlike Rodgers, his game was played on a natural grass field.

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