Rather than most natural-grass stadiums, which grow their field in once piece, Reliant Stadium’s grass is made up of 8′x8′ patches. It probably makes it easier to remove the field, as opposed to a field like the University of Phoenix’s, which rolls outdoors in one piece.
Well, the odd configuration in Houston leads to numerous seams in the playing field, and whether they are tantamount to being negligent to player safety is at the heart of a lawsuit involving a former Texans punter.
Enter Brett Hartmann, an undrafted rookie who played in 12 games for the Texans in 2011 before a Dec. 4 game against the Falcons in which he had to be carted off the field. Hartmann’s left foot caught in one of the seams, and as a result he suffered a fractured fibula and a torn ACL. The 25-year-old was suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy in the 2012 preseason, cut from Houston and remains a free agent.
Not that he’d be competing again, anyway, as according to Hartmann’s lawsuit against the county agency that runs Reliant Stadium, Hartmann requires more surgery in the future, and his career is effectively over. The kicker is looking to recoup money for medical costs, court costs, pain and suffering and loss of future earnings.
You can read the filed lawsuit in full over at Deadspin, but either way it will be interesting to see how the court case plays out. The suit contends that numerous other players have been injured because of Reliant Stadium’s turf (including Wes Welker in 2009), but whether or not it’s defined as negligent is the crux of the case.