By Ari Meirov
49ers defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas both sustained season-ending torn ACLs in their left knees against the New York Jets in Week 2.
The safety of the artificial turf at MetLife Stadium became a big topic after that game.
Both players expect to be back for the start of next season, but Thomas wants the NFL to make a change to prevent future injuries.
“The NFL needs to do a better job with turf,” Thomas told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports. “It should be all grass fields. We should take care of our players. Safety should be No. 1.”
After the incident at MetLife Stadium, NFLPA President JC Tretter called on all NFL teams to ditch artificial turf in favor of natural grass fields.
Tretter presented data from 2012 through 2018 showing non-contact knee injuries happened 32 percent more often on artificial surfaces and non-contact foot/ankle injuries happened 69 percent more often on artificial surfaces.
MetLife Stadium is one of 13 stadiums to use synthetic materials.
“The data stands out,” Tretter said in late September. “Those numbers are staggering, the difference in injury rate between turf and natural grass. It’s possible to get grass in every location, and it’s about pushing for that. We all should be working toward the safest style of play. We know the dangers of playing on turf. That’s not good for anybody. It’s not good for players. It’s not good for the GMs and the head coaches. It’s not good for the owners. It’s not good for the fans. Increased injuries isn’t good for anybody.”
Tretter said that moving to grass fields is something “we need to make a priority” in the years to come.
Thomas is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason after the 49ers declined his fifth-year option last year. He expects to be ready for OTAs.
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