Is Artificial Turf Causing Injuries To Carolina Panthers Players?
Three quarterbacks. Three similar injuries. One surface. Is the artificial turf at Bank of America Stadium causing injuries to Carolina Panthers players?
Carolina Panthers coach Steve Wilks told reporters Monday that PJ Walker suffered a high ankle sprain in Thursday’s win over the Falcons. That makes him the third Panthers quarterback to suffer the injury on the artificial surface at Bank of America Stadium. Panthers beat writer Joe Person pointed out the coincidence(?) in a tweet on Monday:
All three of the Panthers' QBs have had high ankle sprains this season, all sustained on the artificial turf at BoA Stadium. Steve Wilks said he wouldn't speculate on whether turf played a factor.— Joe Person (@josephperson) November 14, 2022
Whether or not Wilks will speculate on the turf vs. natural grass controversy, players are solidly in favor of real grass. Person’s article in The Atlantic (behind a paywall) quotes Panthers defensive end, Brian Burns, among others, complaining that artificial turf is harder on the players. Some players even went so far as to voice their preference to Panthers owner David Tepper. Will this lead to change? Who knows, but if David Tepper ever wants to have a successful team it might be worth trying. Consequently, it won’t matter who we draft next year if the artificial turf continues to cause injuries to Panthers players. The odds of winning a championship if you’re quarterbacks are continuously hurt. Well, they aren’t good.
DJ Moore said Panthers players earlier this season let David Tepper know their preference is a grass surface at BoA Stadium.— Joe Person (@josephperson) November 14, 2022
According to the Carolina Panthers website, Baker Mayfield will start Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, with Sam Darnold backing him up.