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The Chicago Bears have resisted efforts by the Chicago Park District to convert Soldier Field from grass to an artificial surface, and club President Ted Phillips cited player safety in explaining the team’s decision.

“The Chicago Bears will always put a premium on player safety,” Phillips said in a statement to the Chicago Tribune. “Each year we will continue to discuss the pros and cons of grass and infill surfaces, and then make a decision.”

As Dan Pompei of the Tribune notes, the Bears waiting for the results of a league study on whether injuries — especially lower leg and foot injuries — occur at a higher rate on some surfaces than others. Different players have different opinions on the type of surface they prefer to play on, but until the results of the study are in, there isn’t conclusive evidence one way or the other about what the safest playing surface is.

But the Tribune did survey 36 Bears players at the end of the 2009 season and found that only 12 of them wanted to keep the grass surface at Soldier Field. So while the Bears may be keeping grass with player safety in mind, they’re doing it against the wishes of the majority of their players.

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