DENVER (KDVR) — Aaron Rodgers, of the New York Jets, tore his Achilles tendon during a nationally televised game on Monday.
“His foot on the turf was not able to give way, and on that extra extension, the Achilles had nowhere to go,” said Dr. Keyvan Ganz, a podiatrist of foot and ankle surgery.
For younger folks playing high-contact sports, Ganz said, you see a similar type of injury.
“Tendonitis, inflammation of the tendon, more so than actual tears in the kids,” Ganz said.
These injuries happen when the Achilles tendon on the back of the leg is overextended. You can have a partial — or, in Rodgers’ case, total — rupture of the tendon.
Recovery can vary depending on the injury. Ganz said it’s no less than three months before you can even start rehab, whether for an NFL athlete or a high school football player.
“Typically, it’s going to be in a walking boot with a little bit of a heel lift to take some of that tension off the tendon. Allow that kid to heal before he goes back into the sport and has further damage,” Ganz said.
Do Denver-area high schools use turf fields?
While professional athletes have debated the risk of playing on turf fields, FOX31 checked in with school districts in the metro.
Denver Public Schools confirmed that 15 of its campuses and stadiums have turf fields. The Cherry Creek School District confirmed all of its high schools and two stadiums have turf fields.
Joseph Turner is the father of a student-athlete at Cherry Creek High School. As a parent, Turner said he is OK with that.
“If you walk on this turf, it’s softer,” Turner said. “It has good underneath, so that’s why this turf is OK to practice on.”
Ganz said from a medical perspective, there is a greater risk to an athlete’s legs when they run on turf fields.
“When the foot is planted and there’s no flexibility, no pushing to be able to exert some of that pressure off of that, then the foot gets trapped and it causes more injuries and so forth,” Ganz said.
To put it plainly, Ganz said grass is safer on an athlete’s legs.
“The softer the surface is, no matter what your sport is, even if you’re a runner, you want to run on soft surfaces,” Ganz said.