SoFi Stadium Turf In The Crosshairs With A High Rate Of Injuries Occurring

SoFi Stadium may be a field of dreams for Los Angeles football fans.

It is a field of screams for NFL players who have been getting hurt at an inordinate rate this year. Former Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth was highly critical of the field on Thursday when asked about it.

SoFi Stadium is beautiful, but is the turf safe? (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Over the past nine games played at SoFi, starting with the Super Bowl in February, five players have suffered season-ending and potentially career-threatening leg injuries at SoFi.

SoFi Stadium Injuries

L.A. Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson suffered a ruptured patellar tendon Sunday against Seattle. The injury is considered one of the most difficult to return from. The injury was non-contact.

  • L.A. Rams offensive lineman Joe Noteboom suffered a ruptured Achilles’ tendon while engaged in a block during a game.
  • Chargers’ wide receiver Jalen Guyton tore an ACL in his knee while running a pass route.
  • Denver linebacker Aaron Patrick tore his ACL after going out of bounds, awkward colliding with someone along the sideline and stepping on a piece of carpet laid on the field.
  • Former Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. tore his ACL while playing in the Super Bowl.
Odell Beckham grabs his knee after a not contact injury at SoFi Stadium during Super Bowl LVII (Getty Images)

Andrew Whitworth Knows The Issues

When asked about the field, Whitworth initially texted simply, “I hate it.” That sentiment is shared by numerous other players. Then Whitworth explained the issue.

“I hate all artificial turf because it’s inconsistent. Some of them are short and slick and some are high and grip too much or its spongy and you feel like you’re sinking in too much,” Whitworth said, comparing artificial turf to the way grass fields feel. “Either way, it’s not a natural way to step or run, so you always feel uncomfortable no matter what. You feel like you can get hurt anytime. SoFi is even worse because there are different spots that are different height all over the field. It’s really bad.”

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In addition to the five injuries listed above, Seattle wide receiver D.K. Metcalf was knocked out of the game Sunday with another leg injury where he was not contacted. Metcalf did land awkwardly after leaping for a pass but was not hit on the play.

Los Angeles Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson writhes in pain after injuring his knee at SoFi Stadium. (Getty Images)

Beginning with Beckham’s ACL injury in the Super Bowl, there have been 29 NFL players who have suffered the injury, although 14 of those happened in the hundreds of training camps and regular season practices so far.

Twelve of those ACL injuries happened in the 100 games played so far this season outside of Los Angeles, an average of 1.2 every 10 games.

Three have happened in the past nine games at SoFi Stadium. While that may simply be bad luck, it’s also extremely concerning, particularly when the other injuries are accounted for.

Written by Jason Cole

Jason Cole has covered or written about pro football since 1992. He is one of 49 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and has served as a selector since 2013. Cole has worked for publications such as Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, The Miami Herald, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, and started his career with the Peninsula Times-Tribune in Palo Alto. Cole’s five-year investigation of Reggie Bush and the University of Southern California resulted in Bush becoming the only player to ever relinquish his Heisman Trophy and USC losing its 2004 national championship.

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