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SportsTurf Magazine
Updated: 37 min 30 sec ago

Think all artificial turf is the same? Think again!

13 hours 29 min ago

Monofilament polyethylene blend, silica sand and cryogenic rubber, aka artificial turf. You see it in MLS, whether in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, New England or even Atlanta’s soon-to-be home (Minnesota will transition to natural grass when it moves into its new home).

But what is different about each turf, and how do the surfaces compare? That question gets defined not by the product installed in each stadium but by the uses of each venue, and how those uses dictate maintenance. Portland, Seattle and New England all feature Georgia-based FieldTurf’s most premium product, the Revolution 360 infill system, as will Atlanta. Vancouver bucks the FieldTurf trend and opts for Germany-based PolyTan’s LigaTurf RS+ CoolPlus system.

But don’t think all five turfs will play the same. And don’t get Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson worked up on the subject.

With polyethylene fibers stretching mimic blades of grass in both systems, the FieldTurf Revolution 360 offers a different infill system than the rest of the industry, FieldTurf vice president Darren Gill tells FourFourTwo.

“The elastic layer underneath is for more shock absorption, especially over time,” he says. “It helps the surface maintain its elastic properties and with long-term playability and comfort.”

FieldTurf’s blades space wider than other brands to allow a cleat the ability to dig into the synthetic infill without too much grab. The idea has athletes playing in synthetic dirt and not on top of fibers. Gill says it also helps to keep playing characteristics consistent over time.

The latest FieldTurf fiber comes as the most resilient the company has, which keeps its grass-like fibers working longer. “You want those fibers to stay up as long as possible for the most realistic roll,” Gill says. “As the surface gets harder, you want to keep it as soft as possible to address ball roll.”

Portland’s Providence Park and Seattle’s CenturyLink Field both have Revolution 360 turf and infill systems laid in 2016. Each sits on top of a permanent elastic layer that serves as a shock pad for added comfort. New England’s Gillette Stadium, which has had FieldTurf since 2006, added a new Revolution 360 turf in May 2017, but it did so over a slightly different pad system. Atlanta will install the Revolution 360 surface with the same pad as New England, while Vancouver’s pad mimics the one found in Portland and Seattle.

In Vancouver, PolyTan uses an irregularly shaped infill product to better mimic naturally grown materials while allowing water to adhere to the granules and fiber. BC Place installed the latest version of the product in 2015 in time for the Women’s World Cup. “We did a lot of research and traveled to venues in Europe and our research determined it was the best option for the most soccer-like qualities,” Greg Anderson, Whitecaps’ vice president of soccer operations, tells FourFourTwo.

But just because New England or Seattle installed Revolution 360 doesn’t mean it will play the same as the product you’ll find in Portland. “If teams want to have the surface play a little firmer, they can do so,” Gill says. “Softer or slower, they can do that. They have some degree of manipulation of the infill system within a range and it can be manipulated to play harder.”

And here’s where the NFL enters the mix. And monster trucks. Or concerts. It comes as no secret that NFL teams prefer a harder artificial surface. Add in NFL team desires with stadiums that welcome a variety of events, each event packing down the infill every time a truck or stage rolls over the field, and it will quickly start playing firmer.

Portland, though, doesn’t have the push and pull of NFL teams and welcomes far fewer non-soccer events than the larger major stadiums.

“Artificial turf is so stigmatized that everyone puts it in the same bucket,” Paulson tells FourFourTwo. “There is a massive difference between the quality of turf fields that you can host a soccer game on, just like there is a very big difference on the quality of a grass pitch for a game. There is no question that we have the best artificial turf surface in the country right now that is being used for soccer.”

Whether from Thierry Henry, Bruce Arena or David Beckham, all noted “turf haters,” Portland gets the best ratings. There’s a reason why.

It starts with Portland’s commitment to completely re-turf every two years and limiting the use of its turf, akin to a natural grass stadium. “The events that take their toll and hurt turf are less games versus having monster truck shows and concerts hosted on the field,” Paulson says. “It really impacts its performance and its play.”

Then comes the actual mix in Portland. Stadiums hosting NFL rely on a heavy sand mix with less rubber. Portland has a softer fill with more forgiveness. “Don’t get confused with what we are using with what gets used on youth fields,” Paulson says. The field at Providence Park has a FIFA 2-star rating, the highest possible rating from FIFA and the required rating for any artificial turf used in final-round competitions (such as the 2015 Women’s World Cup).

While Portland does welcome football in the form of Portland State University — the main reason, Paulson says, the Timbers haven’t installed natural grass — the team limits football’s impact. Portland only does three-inch painted lines with no colored end zones, wide sidelines or coach’s boxes. “If an artificial turf gets repainted, the paint gets into that turf and creates a performance issue,” Paulson says.

The Timbers — and the NWSL’s Portland Thorns, which practices and plays at Providence Park — also have the luxury of defining the weekly and long-term maintenance of Providence Park. That may not always prove the case in NFL-specific venues.

“The fields are designed to maintain the FIFA quality pro performance,” Gill says, “but in the end, it is maintenance. The key is the recommended brushings, sweeping or raking over time to keep the infill as fresh as possible. There are ways to maintain it to keep it at optimal playing levels, but our clients are the ones who decide how they want fields to play.”

The Whitecaps may not share BC Place with a NFL team, but the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions call the venue home, along with a variety of non-sporting events.

Anderson says he doesn’t field any complaints from players and says that every stadium has differing aspects that change the atmosphere, from the crowds to the humidity. Turf falls into that category. Paulson says never have the Timbers tried to sign a player and had turf come up as an issue.

Even with arguably the best turf in the land, the Timbers still train almost exclusively on natural grass and Paulson says they never rule out the eventuality of switching to natural grass in Providence Park. “There may be a time we are a natural-grass stadium,” he says, “but in the meantime, we will have the best turf field of any MLS stadium.”-Tim Newcomb, fourfourtwo.com

Categories: test feeds

Think all artificial turf is the same? Think again!

13 hours 29 min ago

Monofilament polyethylene blend, silica sand and cryogenic rubber, aka artificial turf. You see it in MLS, whether in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, New England or even Atlanta’s soon-to-be home (Minnesota will transition to natural grass when it moves into its new home).

But what is different about each turf, and how do the surfaces compare? That question gets defined not by the product installed in each stadium but by the uses of each venue, and how those uses dictate maintenance. Portland, Seattle and New England all feature Georgia-based FieldTurf’s most premium product, the Revolution 360 infill system, as will Atlanta. Vancouver bucks the FieldTurf trend and opts for Germany-based PolyTan’s LigaTurf RS+ CoolPlus system.

But don’t think all five turfs will play the same. And don’t get Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson worked up on the subject.

With polyethylene fibers stretching mimic blades of grass in both systems, the FieldTurf Revolution 360 offers a different infill system than the rest of the industry, FieldTurf vice president Darren Gill tells FourFourTwo.

“The elastic layer underneath is for more shock absorption, especially over time,” he says. “It helps the surface maintain its elastic properties and with long-term playability and comfort.”

FieldTurf’s blades space wider than other brands to allow a cleat the ability to dig into the synthetic infill without too much grab. The idea has athletes playing in synthetic dirt and not on top of fibers. Gill says it also helps to keep playing characteristics consistent over time.

The latest FieldTurf fiber comes as the most resilient the company has, which keeps its grass-like fibers working longer. “You want those fibers to stay up as long as possible for the most realistic roll,” Gill says. “As the surface gets harder, you want to keep it as soft as possible to address ball roll.”

Portland’s Providence Park and Seattle’s CenturyLink Field both have Revolution 360 turf and infill systems laid in 2016. Each sits on top of a permanent elastic layer that serves as a shock pad for added comfort. New England’s Gillette Stadium, which has had FieldTurf since 2006, added a new Revolution 360 turf in May 2017, but it did so over a slightly different pad system. Atlanta will install the Revolution 360 surface with the same pad as New England, while Vancouver’s pad mimics the one found in Portland and Seattle.

In Vancouver, PolyTan uses an irregularly shaped infill product to better mimic naturally grown materials while allowing water to adhere to the granules and fiber. BC Place installed the latest version of the product in 2015 in time for the Women’s World Cup. “We did a lot of research and traveled to venues in Europe and our research determined it was the best option for the most soccer-like qualities,” Greg Anderson, Whitecaps’ vice president of soccer operations, tells FourFourTwo.

But just because New England or Seattle installed Revolution 360 doesn’t mean it will play the same as the product you’ll find in Portland. “If teams want to have the surface play a little firmer, they can do so,” Gill says. “Softer or slower, they can do that. They have some degree of manipulation of the infill system within a range and it can be manipulated to play harder.”

And here’s where the NFL enters the mix. And monster trucks. Or concerts. It comes as no secret that NFL teams prefer a harder artificial surface. Add in NFL team desires with stadiums that welcome a variety of events, each event packing down the infill every time a truck or stage rolls over the field, and it will quickly start playing firmer.

Portland, though, doesn’t have the push and pull of NFL teams and welcomes far fewer non-soccer events than the larger major stadiums.

“Artificial turf is so stigmatized that everyone puts it in the same bucket,” Paulson tells FourFourTwo. “There is a massive difference between the quality of turf fields that you can host a soccer game on, just like there is a very big difference on the quality of a grass pitch for a game. There is no question that we have the best artificial turf surface in the country right now that is being used for soccer.”

Whether from Thierry Henry, Bruce Arena or David Beckham, all noted “turf haters,” Portland gets the best ratings. There’s a reason why.

It starts with Portland’s commitment to completely re-turf every two years and limiting the use of its turf, akin to a natural grass stadium. “The events that take their toll and hurt turf are less games versus having monster truck shows and concerts hosted on the field,” Paulson says. “It really impacts its performance and its play.”

Then comes the actual mix in Portland. Stadiums hosting NFL rely on a heavy sand mix with less rubber. Portland has a softer fill with more forgiveness. “Don’t get confused with what we are using with what gets used on youth fields,” Paulson says. The field at Providence Park has a FIFA 2-star rating, the highest possible rating from FIFA and the required rating for any artificial turf used in final-round competitions (such as the 2015 Women’s World Cup).

While Portland does welcome football in the form of Portland State University — the main reason, Paulson says, the Timbers haven’t installed natural grass — the team limits football’s impact. Portland only does three-inch painted lines with no colored end zones, wide sidelines or coach’s boxes. “If an artificial turf gets repainted, the paint gets into that turf and creates a performance issue,” Paulson says.

The Timbers — and the NWSL’s Portland Thorns, which practices and plays at Providence Park — also have the luxury of defining the weekly and long-term maintenance of Providence Park. That may not always prove the case in NFL-specific venues.

“The fields are designed to maintain the FIFA quality pro performance,” Gill says, “but in the end, it is maintenance. The key is the recommended brushings, sweeping or raking over time to keep the infill as fresh as possible. There are ways to maintain it to keep it at optimal playing levels, but our clients are the ones who decide how they want fields to play.”

The Whitecaps may not share BC Place with a NFL team, but the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions call the venue home, along with a variety of non-sporting events.

Anderson says he doesn’t field any complaints from players and says that every stadium has differing aspects that change the atmosphere, from the crowds to the humidity. Turf falls into that category. Paulson says never have the Timbers tried to sign a player and had turf come up as an issue.

Even with arguably the best turf in the land, the Timbers still train almost exclusively on natural grass and Paulson says they never rule out the eventuality of switching to natural grass in Providence Park. “There may be a time we are a natural-grass stadium,” he says, “but in the meantime, we will have the best turf field of any MLS stadium.”-Tim Newcomb, fourfourtwo.com

Categories: test feeds

Field builder strives for safety

13 hours 32 min ago

Gilmer County High School became the first school in the Southeast to play on the AstroTurf Golden Series synthetic turf system. After much deliberation over what synthetic turf product would best suit their needs, the Bobcats, nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, chose a high-density, short length fiber pad and ZeoFill infill turf system, commonly referred to as DT32, Gilmer County embarked on their journey to revolutionize their field before graduation.

With California leading the way in new synthetic turf technology. AstroTurf invested in a new alternative infill design for Los Angeles Recreation and Parks that has now been installed across the nation at high schools, municipalities and Division I fields. Driving the product was a desire to create consistency in safety utilizing a pad, a “no fly-out” infill system, and high durability with lots of fiber that had already been proven in the field over decades with lowering field temperatures. Simply stated by Jimmy Newsome of LA Recreation and Parks, “We had a table full of turf samples. After reviewing the products one by one and eliminating the ones that did not fit our needs, we had an empty table.” This drove the city to develop its own product alongside AstroTurf. Since that moment, AstroTurf has installed over 4 million square feet nationally.

The field

Gilmer High School’s football stadium was a project awarded to Sports Turf Company, Inc. through a competitive proposal process. Construction began in February 2015 working through North Georgia’s unpredictable winter weather.

Sports Turf Company began by excavating down to subgrade to remove all materials from the previous natural grass field and laser grading. A 6-inch porous stone base was installed accompanied by a full underdrain system to allow a minimum of 60 inches an hour to drain successfully from the new synthetic turf field. Exterior field drainage was installed inside the track to ensure water wouldn’t travel back across the track surface.

The Brock SP15 pad was installed over the stone base followed by the Golden Series DT32 system; in another industry first, Gilmer’s end zone lettering and football numbers were prefabbed in a climate controlled warehouse facility before the carpet even arrived for installation. A typical field has 398 inlays plus logos and end zone lettering. By cutting these with a robotic water jet, every one is guaranteed to be the most crisp. Gilmer’s prefabbed field meant the most precise installation, no rain complications and the field was ready on time for graduation. The last step of field construction, 1.5 pounds of sand per square foot was incorporated into the synthetic turf system as a ballast before the ZeoFill was groomed into place.

Sports Turf Company’s certified track builders evaluated Gilmer High School’s stadium and found widening the field to allow for a regulation soccer field would not eliminate a lane of the track based on where the home grand stands were built. The orientation was redesigned shifting the field towards space on the home side to best suit Gilmer High School’s needs and allow for a regulation soccer field. The entire field was enlarged, the distance between the measure lines for the track were changed, and the straightaways were shortened. The curves were made longer and wider to accommodate the new wider field and maintain 6 lanes on the track.

Track construction began with installation of a 4-inch stone base and 3-inches of asphalt. A Sports Track ST-50 13 mm black latex track surface was installed and the track lined for GHSA competition.

The Golden Series carpet replaces rubber infill with ZeoFill, a brand of Zeolite. ZeoFill is an all-natural mineral, able to absorb 81% of its weight in water and release it slowly to create an evapotranspiration effect, thereby cooling the field.

The turf in the DT32 system packs 80 ounces of fiber per yard into 1.25-inch tall pile, with each row spread apart only 3/16 of an inch. The increase in fiber density compared to conventional competition turf systems with only 36 ounces of fiber means it is twice as heavy as those traditional commodity systems and four times as dense.

The Brock pad system consisted of small beads of polypropylene molded under pressure into a certain design, and allows the system to maintain a low stable force reduction rating, aka Gmax.

Brock pads are guaranteed for two lifetimes of the field.

Todd Wiggins, VP at Sports Turf Company says, “The new field is unique in that young athletes play on the fiber like they would grass on a natural field, instead of playing only on the fill. We look for synthetic turf solutions, which closely mimic a high-performance sand rootzone natural grass field.”

“We absolutely love the new field and track! It looks great and gave the students a real sense of pride to play on this fall. We are looking forward to using it for our upcoming soccer and track & field season.”- Principal Carla Foley

“This is the second time I have been involved with a new facility. When I was an AD at another school, I was on the front end of all of the grading, installation etc. of our football field. Our new complex is top notch! Our whole community loves our new facility. It is first class…it makes our whole community proud…our players like playing on it…other teams really like it as well. It is a huge positive difference compared to our old field.”-Athletic Director Terry Luck. This article was provided by Sports Turf Company, Inc., Whitesburg, GA.

Categories: test feeds

Field builder strives for safety

13 hours 32 min ago

Gilmer County High School became the first school in the Southeast to play on the AstroTurf Golden Series synthetic turf system. After much deliberation over what synthetic turf product would best suit their needs, the Bobcats, nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, chose a high-density, short length fiber pad and ZeoFill infill turf system, commonly referred to as DT32, Gilmer County embarked on their journey to revolutionize their field before graduation.

With California leading the way in new synthetic turf technology. AstroTurf invested in a new alternative infill design for Los Angeles Recreation and Parks that has now been installed across the nation at high schools, municipalities and Division I fields. Driving the product was a desire to create consistency in safety utilizing a pad, a “no fly-out” infill system, and high durability with lots of fiber that had already been proven in the field over decades with lowering field temperatures. Simply stated by Jimmy Newsome of LA Recreation and Parks, “We had a table full of turf samples. After reviewing the products one by one and eliminating the ones that did not fit our needs, we had an empty table.” This drove the city to develop its own product alongside AstroTurf. Since that moment, AstroTurf has installed over 4 million square feet nationally.

The field

Gilmer High School’s football stadium was a project awarded to Sports Turf Company, Inc. through a competitive proposal process. Construction began in February 2015 working through North Georgia’s unpredictable winter weather.

Sports Turf Company began by excavating down to subgrade to remove all materials from the previous natural grass field and laser grading. A 6-inch porous stone base was installed accompanied by a full underdrain system to allow a minimum of 60 inches an hour to drain successfully from the new synthetic turf field. Exterior field drainage was installed inside the track to ensure water wouldn’t travel back across the track surface.

The Brock SP15 pad was installed over the stone base followed by the Golden Series DT32 system; in another industry first, Gilmer’s end zone lettering and football numbers were prefabbed in a climate controlled warehouse facility before the carpet even arrived for installation. A typical field has 398 inlays plus logos and end zone lettering. By cutting these with a robotic water jet, every one is guaranteed to be the most crisp. Gilmer’s prefabbed field meant the most precise installation, no rain complications and the field was ready on time for graduation. The last step of field construction, 1.5 pounds of sand per square foot was incorporated into the synthetic turf system as a ballast before the ZeoFill was groomed into place.

Sports Turf Company’s certified track builders evaluated Gilmer High School’s stadium and found widening the field to allow for a regulation soccer field would not eliminate a lane of the track based on where the home grand stands were built. The orientation was redesigned shifting the field towards space on the home side to best suit Gilmer High School’s needs and allow for a regulation soccer field. The entire field was enlarged, the distance between the measure lines for the track were changed, and the straightaways were shortened. The curves were made longer and wider to accommodate the new wider field and maintain 6 lanes on the track.

Track construction began with installation of a 4-inch stone base and 3-inches of asphalt. A Sports Track ST-50 13 mm black latex track surface was installed and the track lined for GHSA competition.

The Golden Series carpet replaces rubber infill with ZeoFill, a brand of Zeolite. ZeoFill is an all-natural mineral, able to absorb 81% of its weight in water and release it slowly to create an evapotranspiration effect, thereby cooling the field.

The turf in the DT32 system packs 80 ounces of fiber per yard into 1.25-inch tall pile, with each row spread apart only 3/16 of an inch. The increase in fiber density compared to conventional competition turf systems with only 36 ounces of fiber means it is twice as heavy as those traditional commodity systems and four times as dense.

The Brock pad system consisted of small beads of polypropylene molded under pressure into a certain design, and allows the system to maintain a low stable force reduction rating, aka Gmax.

Brock pads are guaranteed for two lifetimes of the field.

Todd Wiggins, VP at Sports Turf Company says, “The new field is unique in that young athletes play on the fiber like they would grass on a natural field, instead of playing only on the fill. We look for synthetic turf solutions, which closely mimic a high-performance sand rootzone natural grass field.”

“We absolutely love the new field and track! It looks great and gave the students a real sense of pride to play on this fall. We are looking forward to using it for our upcoming soccer and track & field season.”- Principal Carla Foley

“This is the second time I have been involved with a new facility. When I was an AD at another school, I was on the front end of all of the grading, installation etc. of our football field. Our new complex is top notch! Our whole community loves our new facility. It is first class…it makes our whole community proud…our players like playing on it…other teams really like it as well. It is a huge positive difference compared to our old field.”-Athletic Director Terry Luck. This article was provided by Sports Turf Company, Inc., Whitesburg, GA.

Categories: test feeds

Turf cooling system going in at Washington-Grizzly Stadium

13 hours 33 min ago

Grizzly football will be popping the cork this week with an addition to the artificial turf at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Less than a year after laying a new synthetic playing surface, FieldTurf is returning to Missoula to install its CoolPlay system that helps lower field temperatures during competition. The key component for CoolPlay involves replacing the top layer of crumb rubber infill with an extruded composite top dressing.

That’s crumbled-up cork to the laymen.

Montana installed new turf at a cost of $478,000 last July a year ahead of schedule, but because the timing of the project bumped up against the start of fall football camp and the 2016 season, FieldTurf agreed to lay its basic crumb rubber infill with the understanding that the project would be completed at a later date. The project will be completed by June 1, Montana athletic director Kent Haslam said.

FieldTurf allowed UM to delay payment for the installation until this year, and Montana planned to designate the bulk of a $625,000 check it will receive for playing at FBS Washington on Sept. 9 toward the project. The CoolPlay system was included in the package deal so this week’s work won’t cost the athletic department anything further.

“This is still part of the original bid,” Haslam explained. “We bought the CoolPlay system when we bought the turf. We ran out of time and they ran out of product at that point.”

CoolPlay expands on typical artificial turf makeup that features thin synthetic plastic fibers made to look like natural grass. Those are sewn together like carpet on top of crumbled rubber or sand, which acts as a shock absorber. The addition of a layer of cork just below the plastic fibers can keep playing surfaces, which can reach more than 150 degrees when exposed to direct sunlight, up to 35 degrees cooler than the alternative, according to FieldTurf’s website.

An added bonus of FieldTurf’s return to Missoula is the field at Wa-Griz will get a bit of a facelift. Artificial surfaces endure the wear of not only hundreds of hours of football activity, but countless more in community events like this month’s University of Montana graduation ceremony. A Montana winter also does a number on the turf.

The combination can lead to an uneven and lumpy playing surface or, after several sustained years of activity, plastic fibers disconnecting all together. “They’ll come in and fluff it back up,” Haslam said. “There’s wear and tear on it, but it’s certainly not breaking off and carrying out on your shoes like the old turf was.”

That surface was installed in 2008. The latest version is the third edition of artificial playing surfaces at the stadium since grass was removed prior to the 2001 season. The prior two were both provided by SprinTurf.

Games at Washington-Grizzly Stadium were played on grass from the stadium’s opening in 1986 through the 2000 campaign.

FieldTurf was installed at several locations around the state last year, including Missoula County Stadium at Big Sky High School, Billings’ Rocky Mountain College and Butte High’s Naranche Stadium.- AJ Massolini, The Missoulian

Categories: test feeds

Turf cooling system going in at Washington-Grizzly Stadium

13 hours 33 min ago

Grizzly football will be popping the cork this week with an addition to the artificial turf at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Less than a year after laying a new synthetic playing surface, FieldTurf is returning to Missoula to install its CoolPlay system that helps lower field temperatures during competition. The key component for CoolPlay involves replacing the top layer of crumb rubber infill with an extruded composite top dressing.

That’s crumbled-up cork to the laymen.

Montana installed new turf at a cost of $478,000 last July a year ahead of schedule, but because the timing of the project bumped up against the start of fall football camp and the 2016 season, FieldTurf agreed to lay its basic crumb rubber infill with the understanding that the project would be completed at a later date. The project will be completed by June 1, Montana athletic director Kent Haslam said.

FieldTurf allowed UM to delay payment for the installation until this year, and Montana planned to designate the bulk of a $625,000 check it will receive for playing at FBS Washington on Sept. 9 toward the project. The CoolPlay system was included in the package deal so this week’s work won’t cost the athletic department anything further.

“This is still part of the original bid,” Haslam explained. “We bought the CoolPlay system when we bought the turf. We ran out of time and they ran out of product at that point.”

CoolPlay expands on typical artificial turf makeup that features thin synthetic plastic fibers made to look like natural grass. Those are sewn together like carpet on top of crumbled rubber or sand, which acts as a shock absorber. The addition of a layer of cork just below the plastic fibers can keep playing surfaces, which can reach more than 150 degrees when exposed to direct sunlight, up to 35 degrees cooler than the alternative, according to FieldTurf’s website.

An added bonus of FieldTurf’s return to Missoula is the field at Wa-Griz will get a bit of a facelift. Artificial surfaces endure the wear of not only hundreds of hours of football activity, but countless more in community events like this month’s University of Montana graduation ceremony. A Montana winter also does a number on the turf.

The combination can lead to an uneven and lumpy playing surface or, after several sustained years of activity, plastic fibers disconnecting all together. “They’ll come in and fluff it back up,” Haslam said. “There’s wear and tear on it, but it’s certainly not breaking off and carrying out on your shoes like the old turf was.”

That surface was installed in 2008. The latest version is the third edition of artificial playing surfaces at the stadium since grass was removed prior to the 2001 season. The prior two were both provided by SprinTurf.

Games at Washington-Grizzly Stadium were played on grass from the stadium’s opening in 1986 through the 2000 campaign.

FieldTurf was installed at several locations around the state last year, including Missoula County Stadium at Big Sky High School, Billings’ Rocky Mountain College and Butte High’s Naranche Stadium.- AJ Massolini, The Missoulian

Categories: test feeds

Court finds UBU Sports infringed FieldTurf patent

13 hours 40 min ago

FieldTurf USA, a Tarkett Sports company, announced that a court awarded it $780,000 in damages in its patent infringement case against UBU Sports, Inc.

The case was filed in May 2016 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The Court ruled that UBU Sports had willfully infringed FieldTurf’s U.S. Patent No. 6,723,412 through the sale and installation of at least 13 artificial turf fields. The Court awarded damages in the amount of $260,000, which it trebled to $780,000 based on UBU Sports’s willful infringement. Additionally, the Court dismissed with prejudice all of UBU Sports’s counterclaims, which asserted that the patent-in-suit was not infringed, invalid, and unenforceable.

“We are grateful for the Court’s attention to our case and careful consideration of the record. While litigation was a last resort, the result confirms the importance of the ’412 patent’s technology in delivering innovative artificial turf systems that provide optimum playability, and safety” said Eric Daliere, President of Tarkett Sports. “This victory reinforces our commitment to protect our intellectual property and innovation,” added Marie-France Nantel, Tarkett Sports General Counsel.

Categories: test feeds

Court finds UBU Sports infringed FieldTurf patent

13 hours 40 min ago

FieldTurf USA, a Tarkett Sports company, announced that a court awarded it $780,000 in damages in its patent infringement case against UBU Sports, Inc.

The case was filed in May 2016 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The Court ruled that UBU Sports had willfully infringed FieldTurf’s U.S. Patent No. 6,723,412 through the sale and installation of at least 13 artificial turf fields. The Court awarded damages in the amount of $260,000, which it trebled to $780,000 based on UBU Sports’s willful infringement. Additionally, the Court dismissed with prejudice all of UBU Sports’s counterclaims, which asserted that the patent-in-suit was not infringed, invalid, and unenforceable.

“We are grateful for the Court’s attention to our case and careful consideration of the record. While litigation was a last resort, the result confirms the importance of the ’412 patent’s technology in delivering innovative artificial turf systems that provide optimum playability, and safety” said Eric Daliere, President of Tarkett Sports. “This victory reinforces our commitment to protect our intellectual property and innovation,” added Marie-France Nantel, Tarkett Sports General Counsel.

Categories: test feeds

City to charge fees for field maintenance

May 23, 2017

The Plattsburgh (NY) Recreation Department will now require teams to pay for touching up the field between baseball games.

The $20 fee for field relining or conditioning between games, or any other requests for assistance from recreation employees, is now mandatory.

Fields included are located at Melissa Penfield Park, Peter Blumette Park, South Acres Park, South Platt Street Park and on the U.S. Oval.

The new policy will also require teams to provide insurance prior to field use and require the home team coach to turn off field lights if necessary.

Failure to do so will result in a $20 fee.

“We have enjoyed a positive working relationship and appreciate the support we have received from the City of Plattsburgh throughout the years,” said Plattsburgh Little League President Mike Bordeau.

“We can and will do our best to meet the criteria and requirements outlined in the policy presented by the Recreation Department. Our goal is to offer a quality program for the youth of the community.”

For other sports, including soccer, lacrosse and PAL football, similar policies will be implemented — with the addition of field lining fees ranging from $15-60 for games outside of regular maintenance schedules.

The new policy will take effect this year.

“It is being implemented this year so that we can use the $25,000 [in savings] to invest in storage and maintenance equipment for our field users, as well as time-sensitive door locks and timer lights for our fields,” said Recreation Superintendent Steve Peters. “The goal is to minimize the need for an evening staff person to work on fields and manually turn off lights and lock doors.

“With the implementation of the field policy, we will be able to focus our parks maintenance staff on their core mission of maintaining our parks for the benefit of the public,” he said. “In doing so, we will realize about $25,000 in savings annually.”

According to Peters, the city hosts around 650 baseball and softball games annually, and around 700 soccer games.

“Teams that regularly use our fields are PHS, SUNY Plattsburgh, CVBL, American Legion, Plattsburgh Little League, Plattsburgh Football Club, PAL Football, lacrosse, and many others,” he said.

The fees also come at a time when city officials are trying to cut costs, raise revenues and close a projected budget shortfall.

Categories: test feeds

City to charge fees for field maintenance

May 23, 2017

The Plattsburgh (NY) Recreation Department will now require teams to pay for touching up the field between baseball games.

The $20 fee for field relining or conditioning between games, or any other requests for assistance from recreation employees, is now mandatory.

Fields included are located at Melissa Penfield Park, Peter Blumette Park, South Acres Park, South Platt Street Park and on the U.S. Oval.

The new policy will also require teams to provide insurance prior to field use and require the home team coach to turn off field lights if necessary.

Failure to do so will result in a $20 fee.

“We have enjoyed a positive working relationship and appreciate the support we have received from the City of Plattsburgh throughout the years,” said Plattsburgh Little League President Mike Bordeau.

“We can and will do our best to meet the criteria and requirements outlined in the policy presented by the Recreation Department. Our goal is to offer a quality program for the youth of the community.”

For other sports, including soccer, lacrosse and PAL football, similar policies will be implemented — with the addition of field lining fees ranging from $15-60 for games outside of regular maintenance schedules.

The new policy will take effect this year.

“It is being implemented this year so that we can use the $25,000 [in savings] to invest in storage and maintenance equipment for our field users, as well as time-sensitive door locks and timer lights for our fields,” said Recreation Superintendent Steve Peters. “The goal is to minimize the need for an evening staff person to work on fields and manually turn off lights and lock doors.

“With the implementation of the field policy, we will be able to focus our parks maintenance staff on their core mission of maintaining our parks for the benefit of the public,” he said. “In doing so, we will realize about $25,000 in savings annually.”

According to Peters, the city hosts around 650 baseball and softball games annually, and around 700 soccer games.

“Teams that regularly use our fields are PHS, SUNY Plattsburgh, CVBL, American Legion, Plattsburgh Little League, Plattsburgh Football Club, PAL Football, lacrosse, and many others,” he said.

The fees also come at a time when city officials are trying to cut costs, raise revenues and close a projected budget shortfall.

Categories: test feeds

What to look for in playground surfaces

May 23, 2017

The playground: a universal source of fun for children. It’s also a place to burn calories, make new friends and develop skills like how to judge risks and make decisions. A good playground challenges and engages children but is also designed to keep them safe. One of the best ways to lower the chances of serious injuries is to make sure there is safe surfacing under and around the equipment.

Safe surfacing on playgrounds falls into two categories: loose materials such as wood chips, sand or pea gravel or permanent rubber-like materials. If a child falls, these softer materials absorb energy, making injury less likely. Hard surfaces such as grass, dirt, rocks, asphalt or concrete do not absorb as much energy, meaning the child is more likely to be injured in a fall.

Dayton Children’s Hospital, a member of Prevent Child Injury, is participating in activities this week to promote the need for safe surfaces on playgrounds.

About 75 percent of injuries on the playground are due to falls. If your playground or home swing set is over grass, dirt, asphalt, or concrete, it’s time to update. “Good surfacing under and around playground equipment means fewer serious injuries for all children who come to play,” says Abbey Rymarczyk, Safe Kids Greater Dayton coordinator. “Even a simple swing set in the backyard should have protective surfacing to prevent injuries when kids fall.”

Whether you’re at home or out at a public playground, remember to check the surfacing first.

Is it the right type? Surfacing should be either loose materials such as wood chips, sand, or pea gravel OR permanent rubber-like materials. Permanent rubber-like surfacing and engineered wood fibers are the only surfaces that meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Is there enough coverage? Surfacing should extend 6 feet out from all edges of playground equipment. Swings and slides need more coverage depending on how tall they are, so check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to see exactly how much coverage your playground needs.

Is it in good condition? If surfacing is loose materials, check heavily used areas like under swings and at the end of slides to make sure 12 inches of material is in place. Check permanent rubber-like surfacing for worn spots or holes.

If not, make another choice. If you didn’t say yes to these three questions, let the organization that oversees the playground know that the playground needs attention and find a new place to play until the playground meets guidelines.

This look at a children’s health or safety issue comes from Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Categories: test feeds

What to look for in playground surfaces

May 23, 2017

The playground: a universal source of fun for children. It’s also a place to burn calories, make new friends and develop skills like how to judge risks and make decisions. A good playground challenges and engages children but is also designed to keep them safe. One of the best ways to lower the chances of serious injuries is to make sure there is safe surfacing under and around the equipment.

Safe surfacing on playgrounds falls into two categories: loose materials such as wood chips, sand or pea gravel or permanent rubber-like materials. If a child falls, these softer materials absorb energy, making injury less likely. Hard surfaces such as grass, dirt, rocks, asphalt or concrete do not absorb as much energy, meaning the child is more likely to be injured in a fall.

Dayton Children’s Hospital, a member of Prevent Child Injury, is participating in activities this week to promote the need for safe surfaces on playgrounds.

About 75 percent of injuries on the playground are due to falls. If your playground or home swing set is over grass, dirt, asphalt, or concrete, it’s time to update. “Good surfacing under and around playground equipment means fewer serious injuries for all children who come to play,” says Abbey Rymarczyk, Safe Kids Greater Dayton coordinator. “Even a simple swing set in the backyard should have protective surfacing to prevent injuries when kids fall.”

Whether you’re at home or out at a public playground, remember to check the surfacing first.

Is it the right type? Surfacing should be either loose materials such as wood chips, sand, or pea gravel OR permanent rubber-like materials. Permanent rubber-like surfacing and engineered wood fibers are the only surfaces that meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Is there enough coverage? Surfacing should extend 6 feet out from all edges of playground equipment. Swings and slides need more coverage depending on how tall they are, so check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to see exactly how much coverage your playground needs.

Is it in good condition? If surfacing is loose materials, check heavily used areas like under swings and at the end of slides to make sure 12 inches of material is in place. Check permanent rubber-like surfacing for worn spots or holes.

If not, make another choice. If you didn’t say yes to these three questions, let the organization that oversees the playground know that the playground needs attention and find a new place to play until the playground meets guidelines.

This look at a children’s health or safety issue comes from Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Categories: test feeds

What to look for in playground surfaces

May 23, 2017

The playground: a universal source of fun for children. It’s also a place to burn calories, make new friends and develop skills like how to judge risks and make decisions. A good playground challenges and engages children but is also designed to keep them safe. One of the best ways to lower the chances of serious injuries is to make sure there is safe surfacing under and around the equipment.

Safe surfacing on playgrounds falls into two categories: loose materials such as wood chips, sand or pea gravel or permanent rubber-like materials. If a child falls, these softer materials absorb energy, making injury less likely. Hard surfaces such as grass, dirt, rocks, asphalt or concrete do not absorb as much energy, meaning the child is more likely to be injured in a fall.

Dayton Children’s Hospital, a member of Prevent Child Injury, is participating in activities this week to promote the need for safe surfaces on playgrounds.

About 75 percent of injuries on the playground are due to falls. If your playground or home swing set is over grass, dirt, asphalt, or concrete, it’s time to update. “Good surfacing under and around playground equipment means fewer serious injuries for all children who come to play,” says Abbey Rymarczyk, Safe Kids Greater Dayton coordinator. “Even a simple swing set in the backyard should have protective surfacing to prevent injuries when kids fall.”

Whether you’re at home or out at a public playground, remember to check the surfacing first.

Is it the right type? Surfacing should be either loose materials such as wood chips, sand, or pea gravel OR permanent rubber-like materials. Permanent rubber-like surfacing and engineered wood fibers are the only surfaces that meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Is there enough coverage? Surfacing should extend 6 feet out from all edges of playground equipment. Swings and slides need more coverage depending on how tall they are, so check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to see exactly how much coverage your playground needs.

Is it in good condition? If surfacing is loose materials, check heavily used areas like under swings and at the end of slides to make sure 12 inches of material is in place. Check permanent rubber-like surfacing for worn spots or holes.

If not, make another choice. If you didn’t say yes to these three questions, let the organization that oversees the playground know that the playground needs attention and find a new place to play until the playground meets guidelines.

This look at a children’s health or safety issue comes from Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Categories: test feeds

STMA recognizes commercial innovation

May 23, 2017

STMA Commercial members, submit your innovation for recognition! It’s easy and only has 3 requirements:

1) Be a commercial member of STMA who is exhibiting at STMA’s Annual Conference

2) Have introduced an innovative product, service or piece of equipment within 2 years of exhibiting

3) Fill out the short, online application, which can be found here.

Winners receive recognition at the STMA Annual Awards Banquet, in the trade show hall, in press releases. They also receive a trophy and have use of STMA’s Innovative logo for promoting the winning innovation.

See the full program requirements here. The deadline to submit is Oct. 15. See a list of previous winners.

Categories: test feeds

STMA recognizes commercial innovation

May 23, 2017

STMA Commercial members, submit your innovation for recognition! It’s easy and only has 3 requirements:

1) Be a commercial member of STMA who is exhibiting at STMA’s Annual Conference

2) Have introduced an innovative product, service or piece of equipment within 2 years of exhibiting

3) Fill out the short, online application, which can be found here.

Winners receive recognition at the STMA Annual Awards Banquet, in the trade show hall, in press releases. They also receive a trophy and have use of STMA’s Innovative logo for promoting the winning innovation.

See the full program requirements here. The deadline to submit is Oct. 15. See a list of previous winners.

Categories: test feeds

Passing-only kids league has no rushing or tackling

May 23, 2017

It’s a fast-growing sport, promoted as a fun, safe alternative to tackle football. And it has attracted 93 children playing on nine Parks and Recreation teams in Virginia Beach.

The inaugural season of the 7-on-7 coed youth football passing league has begun; and as the name suggests, every play is a passing play, and every player on offense is an eligible receiver.

It is essentially a game of touch football played with quarterbacks and receivers against linebackers and defensive backs. Starting this week, the fast-paced games are on Friday evenings at the Princess Anne Athletic Complex.

Frederick Jackson has coached hundreds of area youth in just about every sport during the past 22 years. He believes the new league – for children between the ages of 10 and 18 – has the potential to double in size.

“All of my kids are really excited,” said Jackson, coach of the West Kempsville Purple. “It’s new on the recreational level, so there may not be a clear understanding of the game. Parents have to see this, and then they’ll be sold.”

Jackson’s team lacks female players, but he believes their numbers will increase when word about the league spreads.

There is no equipment to buy and no large time commitment – just a two-hour practice and one game, per week. The city provides the shirts and the new synthetic turf fields to play on.

Team mom Melanie Russ says her son, Bryce, a student at Kempsville Elementary, is excited to play for the Purple. Bryce, 11, also plays tackle football, so Russ appreciates the off-season conditioning the spring league provides.

“It’s more about teaching skills and fundamentals to the kids, not making them into football players,” said Jackson.

Last year, there was concern by some parents and coaches that noncontact football would replace tackle football on the recreational level. The parks and recreation department issued a statement that tackle football would continue, and that remains the case.

“Changes to the leagues are made to ensure more children can play, which along with safety is the number one goal,” said Julie Braley, public relations and content manager for the parks and recreation department. “There are no plans to do away with the tackle program.”

Jackson, a Kempsville resident, has thought about retiring from coaching, but the new league provides him with more reasons to continue.

“These kids are enthusiastic and soaking it up like sponges,” he said. “Even after 22 years of coaching, I still go home with a smile after every practice.- by Eric Hodie, The Virginian – Pilot (Norfolk, VA.)

Categories: test feeds

Passing-only kids league has no rushing or tackling

May 23, 2017

It’s a fast-growing sport, promoted as a fun, safe alternative to tackle football. And it has attracted 93 children playing on nine Parks and Recreation teams in Virginia Beach.

The inaugural season of the 7-on-7 coed youth football passing league has begun; and as the name suggests, every play is a passing play, and every player on offense is an eligible receiver.

It is essentially a game of touch football played with quarterbacks and receivers against linebackers and defensive backs. Starting this week, the fast-paced games are on Friday evenings at the Princess Anne Athletic Complex.

Frederick Jackson has coached hundreds of area youth in just about every sport during the past 22 years. He believes the new league – for children between the ages of 10 and 18 – has the potential to double in size.

“All of my kids are really excited,” said Jackson, coach of the West Kempsville Purple. “It’s new on the recreational level, so there may not be a clear understanding of the game. Parents have to see this, and then they’ll be sold.”

Jackson’s team lacks female players, but he believes their numbers will increase when word about the league spreads.

There is no equipment to buy and no large time commitment – just a two-hour practice and one game, per week. The city provides the shirts and the new synthetic turf fields to play on.

Team mom Melanie Russ says her son, Bryce, a student at Kempsville Elementary, is excited to play for the Purple. Bryce, 11, also plays tackle football, so Russ appreciates the off-season conditioning the spring league provides.

“It’s more about teaching skills and fundamentals to the kids, not making them into football players,” said Jackson.

Last year, there was concern by some parents and coaches that noncontact football would replace tackle football on the recreational level. The parks and recreation department issued a statement that tackle football would continue, and that remains the case.

“Changes to the leagues are made to ensure more children can play, which along with safety is the number one goal,” said Julie Braley, public relations and content manager for the parks and recreation department. “There are no plans to do away with the tackle program.”

Jackson, a Kempsville resident, has thought about retiring from coaching, but the new league provides him with more reasons to continue.

“These kids are enthusiastic and soaking it up like sponges,” he said. “Even after 22 years of coaching, I still go home with a smile after every practice.- by Eric Hodie, The Virginian – Pilot (Norfolk, VA.)

Categories: test feeds

Send your issues to STMA Board ahead of summer meeting

May 16, 2017

Every three years the STMA Board of Directors sets the roadmap for the association through a formalized strategic planning process. STMA’s current 2015-2017 plan is nearly complete, and the Board will begin the planning process at their summer Board Meeting, using a professional strategic planning facilitator.

Key accomplishments for the current plan include major progress on our PR initiative, our Environmental Facility Certification program, commercial member engagement, and expanding educational resources for members including natural grass resources. To see the top line goals for the 2015-2017 strategic plan, click here.

If there are issues your would like for the Board to consider as they forecast our future direction, please send an email to STMAinfo@STMA.org.

Categories: test feeds

More students studying sports as academic subject

May 16, 2017

As educators readied a Penn State lecture hall for last month’s Sports Ethics Conference, marketing students half a campus away were scrutinizing Pittsburgh Pirates’ customer data, an agricultural class was testing NFL field surfaces, and a kinesiology department lecture focused on drug use in athletics.

At the state’s largest university as well as colleges all across the nation, sports have moved beyond their traditional boundaries and into the academic mainstream. Serious educators who once sniffed at sports are now examining the games’ intersection with business, history, law, philosophy, literature, journalism, and more.

In addition to courses in traditional PSU majors such as physical education and golf course management, students can choose from such classes as Philosophy of Sport; Sports Marketing; Introduction to the Sports Industry; Sports, Media, and Society; Women and Sports; Sports, Ethics, and Literature; and the Historical, Cultural, and Social Dynamics of Sports.

At Penn State, experts say, this trend reflects both America’s ongoing obsession with sports and the realities of a campus and a small college town that derive much of their identity from the success of Nittany Lions athletics.

“It makes sense to use sports” as a teaching tool, said John Affleck, who heads Penn State’s Curley Center for Sports Journalism, “because our students are really interested in sports. You immediately have their attention.”

Affleck recently joined other academics here in sports-related fields to form the Center for the Study of Sports in Society, an effort to synthesize and improve disparate teaching and research efforts.

“Just look at the course I teach,” said Steve Ross, a sports law professor and the driving force behind the center. “You can’t focus on sports law without knowing what is sound public policy toward sports. And you can’t figure out sound public policy without drawing on many disciplines.”

And it’s not just students and researchers who are benefiting. The NFL and artificial-surface manufacturers profit from – and often contribute financially to – turf studies in the College of Agricultural Studies. Marketing students have helped baseball teams understand and solve issues of attendance and promotion. And several strapped news organizations in the state are getting assistance from eager PSU sports journalism students.

This growing connection might even be more pronounced at Penn State if not for the last decade’s social earthquakes.

In 2008, the business school had a commitment from ESPN to fund an analytical sports research center. But the recession later that year killed those plans. Three years later, the Jerry Sandusky child-abuse scandal struck, and funding for anything sports-related virtually dried up.

“That just devastated this place,” said Wayne DeSarbo, a Business College professor who has linked marketing and analytics courses to sports. “You mentioned sports and people just wanted to run away.”

‘Prominent space in society’

As notable as the development has been here, Penn State has taken a more cautious approach to sports curriculum than many schools. It is not, for example, one of the hundreds that offer sports management degrees.

According to the North American Society of Sports Management, nearly 500 schools have sports management majors. At Ivy League Columbia and 131 other colleges, students can get a master’s in the subject. At Temple, they can earn a Ph.D.

“In the last decade, the number of academic offerings related to sports has grown rapidly,” said George Cunningham, a Texas A&M professor and NASSM president. “Sports continue to occupy a prominent place in our society.”

There were almost 25,000 sports management students this school year, Cunningham said, a number many fear can’t be accommodated by the industry.

It is that potential disconnect that has made Penn State more cautious than most when it comes to diving into the academic sports pool.

So instead of adding more sports-specific majors, Penn State has seen these new courses as supplements to traditional areas of study.

“I could fill up courses all day and night if we had suitable facilities to find them jobs,” said DeSarbo. “Since we don’t, our philosophy is to make sure these people who graduate have a thorough training in some functional area of business. Then they can augment that with whatever interest they have in sports.”

Penn State doesn’t offer a sports major, though a plan to create a minor is moving through what one professor termed “the glacial-like university bureaucracy.” If approved, it would be housed in the kinesiology department but require sports-related courses in many disciplines.

What makes all this notable is the historical animosity that has existed between sports and those academics who saw fun and games as unworthy topics for serious scholarship.

“It’s academic snobbery, and there’s been a lot of it at major research institutions like this one,” said Ross, who also heads the Institute for Sports Law, Policy and Research. “Because of that, those schools haven’t looked much at sports. Those that did tended not to be the elite universities, and often their work wasn’t very good. That in turn confirmed to the major universities that sports was beneath them.”

Because of its agricultural-school roots, Penn State has been a place where subjects shunned elsewhere have been more welcome in the curriculum.

When, for example, more established and prestigious schools such as Cornell saw it as beneath it, Penn State started the nation’s first agricultural program. And when in the 1890s those same institutions ignored American literature, Fred Pattee created a pioneering course in the subject here.

“Sports have been vastly understudied,” Ross said. “Lots of people have opinions, but the amount of rigorous, research-backed thinking that goes into those opinions has been minimal.”

Guarding their turf

According to its lofty sounding mission statement, the new sports center is meant “to incubate and facilitate discussion between academics, industry executives and policy makers about research, regulation and reforms with regard to professional, intercollegiate, youth and club-level amateur sports.”

Ideally, Ross said, if one of his law classes were to tackle the debate about paying collegiate athletes, the marketing department might look at what it would mean for sports’ commercial future. History researchers might examine its potential impact on women’s athletics. Education students might focus on how the broader university would accommodate paid athletes, and athletic department officials could provide specialized insights.

The center’s dream of interdisciplinary synthesis would be a departure from the way things work at many large universities, where departmental fiefdoms jealously guard their turf.

“We’re all in our own buildings, and it’s not easy to talk with one another or know what someone else is doing,” said Affleck, who, like Ross and DeSarbo, is a member of the center’s executive committee.

DeSarbo suggested that in the past professors of these various sports courses might be exploring similar topics and competing for the same grants, all independent of one another.

“Every school in the university wants to have its own little empire,” DeSarbo said. “But the competition for funding is so tough that two people can’t go to alumni with requests for research on the same thing. So it’s probably best to merge it all so we don’t have to compete against each other for limited resources.”

Another sports-related center on campus is the Center for Study of Sports Surfaces in the College of Agriculture, where research into playing field and golf course turf has been going on for decades. And while ag-school research has focused on living organisms, the center is funded by Field Turf, the world’s largest artificial-surface producer.

“The tie-in is a little tenuous,” conceded Andrew McNitt, the center’s director, who is a professor in the department of plant science and the technical adviser to the NFL’s Groundskeepers Organization. “But we’re doing research on real grass all the time. So we’re always looking at how the artificial turf compares to real grass and how we can make both better.”

Among the issues being studied there are ways to improve a field’s traction and melting functions as well as the relationship between surface hardness and concussions.

Very responsive

In Affleck’s sports journalism classes, 100 or so students a semester study in what is a certificate program within the College of Communications. Many get hands-on experience covering Penn State’s 31 sports for print, TV or radio, and some, through internships and other programs, are doing professional work.

“There are a lot of opportunities in struggling industries for these kids to help out,” said Affleck.

Since sports touch on so many aspects of American life, it’s easy to use them as springboards into broader issues. That was evident last fall, Affleck said, when San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick created a firestorm by kneeling during the national anthem.

“That gave us an opportunity to work through a lot of issues,” said Affleck, “like how we feel about patriotism, race, community relations with police.”

Sometimes these courses are as broad as sports law. Other times their focus is narrow. In the Liberal Arts College last semester, for example, there was a class called Is Football Immoral and Other Questions of Sports Ethics.

The Sports, Ethics, and Literature course focuses on the way American sports depend on narratives. History of Sports looks at the “forces, institutions, and personalities” that have shaped and guided physical activities from ancient Greece through the 20th century.

The more of these courses and the more funding that institutions like Penn State’s new sports center attracts, Ross said, the deeper once-trivialized issues will burrow into academia.

“We’re going to be very responsive to providing resources to do valuable research,” said Ross. “We’re hoping to tap into the Penn State community and foundations to provide something of the equivalent for sports to what the [National Institute of Health] does for medical problems.”- by Frank Fitzpatrick, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Categories: test feeds

New study: infill cancer 1 in a million chance

May 16, 2017

A $200,000 testing project to determine the safety of synthetic turf sports fields containing crumb rubber infill found that the likelihood of developing cancer due to contact with the surface is less than one in a million.

The project, funded by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation of Baltimore, contracted Jenkins Environmental Inc. of Maryland to conduct the test. It was announced in June 2015 and began testing in August 2015. The study concluded May 10.

The testing was prompted by recent concerns regarding the safety of crumb rubber infill, which has been suggested as a possible cause for high cancer rates in soccer players.

The foundation undertook a sampling of fields whose construction it has sponsored in five different cities: Baltimore, Everett, Ma., Newport News, Va., Harrisburg, Pa. and Hartford, Conn.

According to chief executive Steve Salem, the foundation was prepared to remove crumb rubber from its fields nationwide, had they found evidence of harmful effects.

Salem told the Herald Net, “Our role in this was to bring the right people together, to come up with the funding to get this done, and make sure the kids were safe.”

Over the course of the study, sports fields utilizing crumb rubber were tested along with the soil underneath and the surrounding air quality.

The results showed concentrations of chemicals and heavy metals in quantities lower than what is allowed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in children’s products.

Assuming a child that plays on the fields about two hours a day, five days a week, year-round, the study concluded that the likelihood of developing cancer is less than one in a million.

This study’s findings are in agreement with the findings of a review of crumb rubber infill completed in January by the State Department of health.

The EPA, CDC and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are now collaborating on a national investigation of the possible health effects of the material.

Jenkins Environmental Inc. president Michael Cirri said, “We stand behind our conclusion and have the data to stand behind our conclusion. The analysis in the report is extensive.”

The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation plans to continue use of crumb rubber infill in 25 new fields nationwide, using a random sampling system to test the safety of the new installations.

“We want to make sure the batches coming in meet Consumer Product Safety Commission standards,” said Twilley.-By Courtney Cameron, Athletic Business

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