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SportsTurf Magazine
Updated: 31 min 35 sec ago

STMA 2017 Conference Scavenger Hunt is almost here!

January 19, 2017

STMA is introducing our first ever Scavenger Hunt for the STMA Annual Conference! Taking place throughout the week, participants will be able to play, learn and earn points. Easily accessible by downloading the Scavify app and searching for our hunt: STMA Scavenger Hunt, players can complete the challenges by answering questions, taking photos or scanning QR Codes.

STMA will award the top three highest scorers with prizes!

1st place: Two Airline Tickets to Anywhere (valued at $500 each)

2nd place: Three Nights Hotel at the 2018 Conference in Ft. Worth, TX

3rd place: $100 Gift Card

When will the game be available?

The game will be activated on Tues., Jan. 24 at 7:00 a.m. and close on Fri., Jan. 27, at 12:30 p.m. Winners will be announced on the trade show floor at 12:30 p.m. on Friday.

How can I access it?

Download the app Scavify from the app store, and search for our hunt: STMA Scavenger Hunt. A link to the app can also be found in STMA’s conference app, 2017 STMA Show.

Thank you to our Sponsors!

This program is brought to you by Title Sponsor Syngenta and supporting sponsors Barenbrug, ENP Turf, Floratine, G2 Turftools, Jacobsen, John Deere, Intelligro, Landmark Turf & Native Seed, Nature Safe, Pioneer Athletics, Sunbelt Rentals and TruMark Athletics.

See you at conference! 

Sports Turf Managers Association


Categories: test feeds

Safe Fields Alliance and Synthetic Turf Council response to Status Report

January 19, 2017

The Safe Fields Alliance (“SFA”), a coalition dedicated to educating stakeholders around the safety of synthetic turf fields using recycled rubber, and the Synthetic Turf Council (“STC”), a non-profit trade association dedicated to serving as a resource for trustworthy information about synthetic turf, issued the following statement regarding the December 30th, 2016 Environmental Protection Agency Status Report on the Federal Research Action Plan on artificial turf:

“We understand that last Friday’s announcement marks incremental progress by the EPA on its Federal Research Action Plan. However, we cannot overstate the pressing need for the Agency to share clear and concise findings as soon as possible in 2017 in order to provide answers and eliminate uncertainty for parents and policymakers.

Based on the more than 90 scientific studies that have already looked into the safety of synthetic turf fields and other surfaces with recycled rubber infill, we believe the answers are already out there. Just last week, after sampling 100 synthetic turf fields, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) concluded, “Playing sports on synthetic turf fields with rubber granulate is safe.” We are confident that the EPA will also ultimately reach the same conclusion: that there are no links to any negative health effects from recycled rubber.

The industry is fully committed to transparency and safety, and has worked to collaborate with the EPA on this effort. In addition to our collaboration, the industry has simultaneously taken its own proactive steps by cooperating to ensure all synthetic turf and playground infills meet new ASTM toy standards for heavy metals.

While we agree that the EPA should not sacrifice thoroughness for expediency, after nearly a year of study, the cloud of uncertainty is hurting businesses as well as jobs. The science is evident, and it is time for the EPA and other regulatory agencies to bring clarity to the situation.”

Categories: test feeds

US agencies release status report for crumb rubber study

January 19, 2017

Three US federal agencies have released a status update on their ongoing effort to evaluate the safety of recycled tire crumb used in athletic fields and playgrounds.

The joint initiative by the EPA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) comes in response to growing concern over the safety of “crumb rubber”.

The material has been found to contain heavy metals, carbon black, benzothiazole, and other substances of potential concern. And although studies to date have not shown an elevated health risk, the agencies say that these “have limitations and do not comprehensively evaluate the concerns about health risks from exposure”.

The 30 December status report includes the final appraisal of peer-reviewed literature and data gaps analysis report, covering some 90 references.

It also describes the progress to date on the agencies’ efforts on:

  • the characterization of the chemicals found in tire crumb;
  • exposure scenarios;
  • research to better understand how children use playgrounds containing it; and
  • stakeholder outreach.

Regarding the chemicals’ characterization, laboratory analyses are underway to measure the amounts of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and semi-volatile organic chemicals (SVOCs) emitted from tire crumb rubber samples, under different temperature conditions. The study will include bioaccessibility measurements to better understand how the substances may be absorbed in the body.

Microbial pathogens are also being evaluated.

Analysis of the samples collected from fields and recycling facilities, and the exposure characterization component of the study, will continue in the new year. Results are expected before the end of 2017.

A CPSC playground study is also ongoing.

Meanwhile, states and localities continue to adopt bans on the installation of crumb rubber-infilled fields.

The EU, too, has begun to focus on the material. Echa issued a call for evidence in November, despite a Dutch agency recently determining that the adverse health effects from its use are “negligible”.

California synthetic turf study meeting

Separately, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (Oehha) has tentatively scheduled the next meeting of its synthetic turf scientific advisory panel for 10 March.

The panel is providing input on the agency’s study assessing the potential health impacts associated with the use of synthetic turf and playground mats made of crumb rubber.

This will focus on identifying chemicals that may be released, and on estimating exposures to users of synthetic turf fields. The agency is also exploring the feasibility of a future biomonitoring study to measure exposures to chemicals.

The panel meeting will be open to the public and webcast.

Categories: test feeds

The Triple-A game that was played on concrete

January 19, 2017

Portland Beavers outfielders didn’t want to dive on opening day in 1969.

The Beavers, then the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate, played at Civic Stadium in downtown Portland, Ore. Their ballpark gained national headlines that winter from a significant field announcement.

“The city council yesterday voted unanimously to carpet Portland’s city-owned Civic Stadium with artificial turf,” the Arizona Republic reported. “Councilmen said they hoped the turf would be ready for the opening of the baseball season this spring.”

It wasn’t ready.

Portland’s first home game was scheduled for April 11, but the turf positioning took longer than expected, and opening day got moved back a few weeks. The second attempt at opening day arrived with most of the turf laid down, but left field was still uncovered. Fearful at the embarrassment another opening day postponement would cause, management decided the game must happen, even though left field was cement.

The grounds crew painted left field green, hoping it would blend in with the rest of the turf. But left field’s true material was obvious when bloopers landed, bounced extra high, then came down with green paint stains.

Nobody was hurt on opening day, and the rest of the turf was installed before the second game of the series, according to former Portland executive Jack Cain. That year the Beavers became the first professional baseball team to play a season on an entirely synthetic outdoor surface. It saved on field maintenance costs and limited the number of rainouts.

Tim Hagerty is the broadcaster for the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas, and is on Twitter at @MinorsTeamNames. He is also the author of “Root for the Home Team: Minor League Baseball’s Most Off-the-Wall Team Names.”


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#STMA2017 Social Media Campaign

January 17, 2017

Explore how you can share about conference happenings, your experiences and more with STMA’s 2017 Social Media Toolkit.

Help support our industry by posting this information to social media while using #STMA2017 and @FieldExperts. Share content throughout January on your personal channels.

Our goal is to spread awareness about #STMA2017 and to have the topic trending nationwide in support of STMA’s Conference.

Thank you for your support!

Sports Turf Managers Association

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CA officials say new plan will make water conservation a way of life

January 17, 2017

Here in the land of beauty and make-believe, it’s important to keep up appearances. Tracy Quinn sees it whenever she walks her dog: sprinklers irrigating pretty green lawns and wasted water bleeding across sidewalks during the state’s driest spell in centuries.

“It drives me crazy,” said Quinn, a water policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

But now California is preparing for a dramatic change in how its residents use water. A water management plan that could be finalized in January is designed to make conservation “a way of life.”

“I think it’s a really great way to go,” Quinn said.

California is entering its sixth year of extreme drought, and it has enacted water restriction plans before. In 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) declared that watering grass every day was “going to be a thing of the past.” He issued an executive order that forced the state’s 410 water agencies to cut up to 36 percent of their water use, compared with 2013.

The new plan would instead give each water agency a budget for how much water its customers are allowed to use. Each agency’s allowance would be based on estimates from state officials of its demographics — population, economy, outdoor temperature, tree canopy and even the rate of water evaporation — to determine its need.


Many agencies will be forced to purchase costly technology that detects even the smallest leaks in water lines and to hire data analysts to record and report water use. An association that represents California water agencies said it has yet to examine the overall cost but predicted it would easily surpass $1 billion.

For the first time, farms in the state would be required to account for nearly every drop of water they pull from aquifers they are depleting, often to grow thirsty cash crops such as almonds and rice that require extensive irrigation in naturally dry conditions.

The proposal, “Making Water Conservation a Way of Life,” must overcome a slew of public and legislative debates over the next three years before implementation, but it is being embraced by strange bedfellows: the Association of California Water Agencies and environmental groups such as California Coastkeeper Alliance that often battle the association over water.

“It’s sweeping change that builds on the lessons learned during the drought,” said Max Gomberg, the climate and conservation manager for the state Water Resources Control Board, which governs water agencies. “We are setting new water efficiency targets for suppliers that serve 34 million people.”

“We’re not telling them how to meet their budgets. We’re just telling them they have to stay within their budgets,” he said. “If you stay under budget, kudos. If you go over budget, the state steps in.”

The penalty for going over budget is one of the many things that state water officials, lobbyists and lawmakers will have to negotiate. What’s important now, Gomberg said, is that there is a new path forward.

During the state’s emergency drought response two years ago, “we realized . . . we didn’t have a regulatory structure dealing with leaks” in cities, Gomberg said, and “we didn’t know how much water was being lost” in rural areas, where farmers were never required to report their groundwater use.


Scientists say there is no end in sight for California’s drought. The dry stretch that started in 2011 has killed more than 100 million trees, increased the chances of wildfires, wiped out dozens of farms, dried sections of rivers and threatened the state’s salmon fishery, killed unknown quantities of wildlife and left entire communities without running water.

San Diego County built the largest desalination plant in the nation, pulling salt water from the ocean. Santa Barbara is following suit, seeking to restart a mothballed desalination plant as a reservoir that serves the county, Lake Cachuma, goes almost dry. In East Porterville, near Fresno, residents couldn’t bathe or flush their toilets after their wells stopped pumping.

Setting water budgets will involve a lot of technical work in the nation’s most populous state — and, before the drought, one of the most irresponsible when it came to water management.

For example, until recently even major cities, including the capital, Sacramento, did not require homes and businesses to have water meters. Now California will require thousands of sophisticated meters and will combine satellite technology and aerial flight data to study the state’s topography to see which areas have the most pavement, grass and even the most shade to determine how much irrigation they need.

Foggy San Francisco’s water budget will be different from dry and highly populated Los Angeles’s, Gomberg said. Bakersfield, near the relatively wet Sierra Nevada, will have a budget that differs from Riverside, near dry desert mountains.

“I’m not going to say it’s perfect,” said Quinn of the Natural Resources Defense Council, “but the framework the governor put out is smart, and the potential implementation is smart for the way we manage water in California.”

The executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, Tim Quinn (who is not related to Tracy Quinn), was equally positive. “We’re fully supportive of this effort,” he said.

Association members are not of one mind on the proposal, but “one reason a lot of our members like this budget-based approach is . . . we believe it allows agencies to adapt to their own circumstances” rather than facing a one-size-fits-all solution.

But some smaller agencies that lack money for pricey gadgets and new staffers are worried. In webinars held by the association, member agencies that serve few customers have wondered aloud whether the old order — reducing a percentage of water use — would allow them to sidesteps the costs.

“No one is looking for a way out; we’re just having a discussion . . . about what’s the best way to do it,” Quinn said.

At the Moulton Niguel Water District in south Orange County near Laguna Beach, which already monitors nearly every drop of water, the cost of new meters, leak detection equipment, a consulting analyst and increased staff work hours amounted to $78,000 yearly.


But the investment was worth it, said Joone Lopez, the district’s general manager. Leaking water is money down the drain. “It’s not only the water loss but also loss in revenue, so it makes sense to do water audits for a variety of reasons,” Lopez said.

That is why big agencies that fought the executive order to cut at least a quarter of their water use in many cases prefer the new approach. Cutting water use hurt revenue and profit margins, sometimes resulting in losses. A budget based on their needs and their ability to monitor and account for water puts destiny in their own hands.

Californians should expect a drier future, said Sara Aminzadeh, executive director of the California Coastkeeper Alliance, based in San Francisco. “We’re going to be experiencing more drought, and more severe drought with less rain and snow.”

Scientists at Stanford University predicted that the state’s temperatures will keep rising as precipitation falls, and scientists at NASA and Columbia University said that if the climate continues to warm without decreases in greenhouse-gas emissions, California and the Southwest will face a megadrought — extreme dry conditions that last 30 years.

The proposal, Aminzadeh said, “is a new ethic for our state, that water conservation is part of our way of life. We’re not just lurching from one drought to the next. We’re putting in place a long-term plan. It just feels like things are coming together.”-The Washington Post

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New football league would pay college-aged players

January 17, 2017

When junior quarterback Deshaun Watson led Clemson past Alabama in a championship game thriller Monday night, it was another reminder of a lifeblood to the multibillion-dollar college football industry: a monopoly on players three years or fewer removed from their high school graduating class, who by rule are ineligible to enter the NFL draft.

What if some of those players didn’t have to wait to go pro?

The people behind a new professional league that hopes to launch in 2018 say they don’t intend to compete with the NCAA. They have a long way to go financially and otherwise just to get their venture off the ground. But if they can play even one season, paying the bills and cutting 18- to 22-year-olds in on the action, it’s easy to see where the impact could be significant.

“It’ll make sense for a lot of young men and a lot of families,” longtime NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey, one of the nascent Pacific Pro Football League’s co-founders, told USA TODAY Sports. “We’re hoping to provide them with that choice.”

The plan: Four teams based in Southern California, each playing an eight-game schedule on Sundays in July and August. Roughly 50 players per team making an average salary and benefits package of $50,000 a year, which they’d be free to supplement with endorsements. Rules tweaked to enhance safety and give NFL scouts matchups they want to see. Coaches with NFL experience teaching pro-style schemes. Any player four years or fewer removed from high school would be eligible, including college underclassmen who had entered the NFL draft.

Numerous minor leagues have tried and failed in recent years to expand the American pro football landscape by relying on players who had missed the NFL cut, which inevitably limited the potential for creating a compelling consumer product. Money has been a common problem, too, and remains a central question here.

Don Yee, a veteran NFL agent who is CEO and principal founder of Pac Pro, says the league has received financing from family and friends and he has met with a potential investor, plus media distributors. But a lot of work must be done. There’s no backing from the NFL or its players union.

What makes the concept intriguing is it targets a previously untapped talent base: players who currently have no option to play for pay because the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement bars them from the league. (Basis for that rule: Players need time to physically and mentally mature before competing against fully developed adults.)

Paying up to lure a few NFL-ineligible superstars such as Watson would have been a year ago or as the USFL did decades ago with Herschel Walker, would put the new league in the spotlight, though the economics are on a smaller scale initially.

Plenty of players would still choose the glory of the college game and the four-year education that comes with it. But like minor league baseball or junior hockey, Pac Pro would be an option for players who either can’t or choose not to play on college scholarships, some straight out of high school. Think academic non-qualifiers, junior college players paying their own way, players with urgent need to provide for their families, those transitioning from another sport, those who would have to sit out a year under transfer rules, those who have been dismissed from a college program, those who simply want a different path — perhaps, eventually, some top college players who want to start cashing checks and use the league as a sort of football graduate program.

“You’ve got all day to spend with football,” said former NFL coach Mike Shanahan, who is on the league’s advisory board.

If players want to attend school, the summer schedule wouldn’t interfere and there would be an option to receive one year’s tuition and books at a community college. Training would continue year-round on a similar calendar to that used in the NFL. There also would be development opportunities for coaches and officials, who could come from a program started for military veterans by another advisory board member, former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira.

It would cost millions to get something this ambitious started, though. Salaries, insurance, medical expenses, equipment — it all adds up.

“We believe that the business environment is good for a project like this,” said Yee, who has written on college sports’ exploitation of athletes. “We believe that the players are ready for a choice, and we think we can be a good supplement to other football products that are out there.”

There are no plans to have traditional roster cuts, Yee said, but for some, taking the new option would mean giving up another. Any player signing a Pac Pro contract would forfeit NCAA eligibility.

McCaffrey’s involvement is notable because his son, Stanford star Christian McCaffrey, was among the high-profile players to sit out bowl games this last month with an eye toward April’s NFL draft. Another son, Dylan McCaffrey, has committed to play at the University of Michigan, which also has offered a scholarship to youngest son Luke, a high school sophomore who would be eligible for Pac Pro’s second season if the projected schedule holds.

“I’m hoping he gets an invite,” Ed McCaffrey said. “If he’s lucky enough to be considered, I’ll certainly sit down with him and we’ll have that discussion.

“Honestly, I believe that there will be thousands of kids that want to play in this league. I think the toughest thing that we will have to do is limit the scope.”- by Tom Pelissero, USA TODAY

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Bo Jackson wouldn’t have played football

January 17, 2017

Bo Jackson, the world’s greatest living athlete and the only man to be an All-Star in baseball and a Pro Bowler in football, has a confession to make.

If Bo knew back in his playing days what he knows now:

Bo never would have won a Heisman Trophy at Auburn. Bo never would have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Bo never would have worn a Los Angeles Raiders uniform. Bo never would have trampled Brian Bosworth on Monday Night Football. And Bo never would have suffered the dislocated left hip that ended his football career.

“If I knew back then what I know now, I would have never played football. Never,” Jackson tells USA TODAY Sports. “I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.

“The game has gotten so violent, so rough. We’re so much more educated on this CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) stuff, there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today.

“Even though I love the sport, I’d smack them in the mouth if they said they wanted to play football.

“I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.'”

Jackson was leery of the game’s exploitative tendencies when he came out of Auburn — a suspicion he says played a significant role in his shunning of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — and that, in concert with greater knowledge of head injuries and their effect on deceased stars such as Junior Seau, forced a greater re-examination of the sport.

And without football, there’s no telling what Jackson might have accomplished in his other sport.

Jackson, 54, who will be honored Saturday with the Scouts Dream Award at the 14th annual Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation banquet in Beverly Hills, knows that football truncated his career, but he has no bitterness.

If he had just stuck to baseball, perhaps he and George Brett — who will present him with his award — would not only have been former Kansas City Royals teammates but also fellow baseball Hall of Famers.

If he had played baseball only, perhaps every Mike Trout and Bryce Harper who comes along would be compared to Bo Jackson.

“You know what? I still wouldn’t change a thing,” Jackson says. “The man upstairs had a plan of the way of working things out, and they did. I have no regrets.”

Ready to walk away

This comes from a man who was just one week away from shocking the sports world and retiring from football so he could focus on his baseball career.

Jackson revealed to USA TODAY Sports that he had planned to retire from the NFL after the 1990 season. He still had a contract with the Raiders, making the Pro Bowl that season, but planned to walk away and solely play baseball once the season ended.

Instead, a hit from Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Kevin Walker on Jan. 13, 1991, forced him into retirement. The hit broke and dislocated his left hip in the third quarter of a divisional playoff game.

Jackson thought it was simply a hip pointer, which would have allowed him to return the next week to play the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game.

Jackson, who suffered from hip necrosis that required surgery for an artificial hip, never put on a football uniform again.

“That week, three or four days before the playoff game, I sat down with Linda (his wife and mother of their three children) and told her that I was going to announce my retirement,” Jackson says. “When the season was over, we had made my mind up that I was going to do that. That was the plan.

“Well, the man upstairs changed that plan. I’m not a very religious guy, but I believe in God, and I believe God works things out for a reason. If I had retired before my contract was over, I would have probably been hated by Raiders fans forever.”

Instead, Jackson is beloved wherever he goes, well, with the exception of Tampa.

Betrayal by Buccaneers

Jackson, the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner, was selected by the Buccaneers with the first pick in the 1986 draft. He refused to sign. He was willing to play for any other team in the NFL, but not the Buccaneers, who were owned at the time by Hugh Culverhouse.

Jackson thought the Bucs were responsible for him becoming ineligible to play baseball in his senior season at Auburn. They had sent a private plane to pick up Jackson for a physical in Tampa and allegedly reported the infraction to the NCAA.

It was nothing more than betrayal, Jackson says, and he never forgave the Bucs.

“Their people said they were looking out for me and checked with the NCAA that it was OK for me to go on their plane for that physical, but nobody checked it out,” Jackson says. “Well, I put 2 and 2 together and figured it out. They knew I was a first-round pick in football, but they wanted to get me away from baseball, so they got me ruled ineligible. I’m 100% convinced of that. They thought that would make me forget baseball.

“I told myself, ‘All right, if you screw me, I’m going to screw you twice as hard.’ If anybody else had drafted me, I would have gone, but I wasn’t going to play for that man.

“People thought I was crazy, but it was just morals. If you screw me over like that and I’m not part of a team yet, just think what they’d do to me under contract. I couldn’t do that. I needed the money. I was as poor as a Mississippi outhouse. But I couldn’t play for that man.

“I also observed the way they were treating people. The fact the owners kept calling the players, ‘These are my boys.’ Their wives were doing the same thing. I couldn’t go there. I always believed that if you don’t believe in yourself and stand for what you believe is right, who else is going to have faith in you?”

A gem on the diamond

The NFL’s loss was baseball’s gain.

Royals scout Kenny Gonzales persuaded the Royals to select Jackson in the 1986 draft, burning a mere fourth-round pick. He had scouted every one of Jackson’s games and was in awe of Jackson’s speed, power and athletic prowess. He spent time talking with Jackson’s baseball coaches, sat down with his family and truly believed Jackson wanted to be a baseball player.

“He’s the reason I played baseball in Kansas City,” Jackson says of Gonzales, who died of a heart attack in 1994. “He asked me if I was serious about playing baseball. I told him I was. The rest is history.”

After just 53 games in the minor leagues, Jackson was a September call-up in 1986. He hit his first home run in his seventh game, a 475-foot shot off Seattle Mariners pitcher Mike Moore, still the longest home run hit at Kauffman Stadium.

Jackson became an everyday player in 1987. In 1989, he was MVP of the All-Star Game and hit 32 homers with 105 RBI in a year marked by his iconic “Bo Knows” Nike ad campaign.

He might have been a perennial All-Star, but football never left his soul. A year after he rejected the Bucs, Jackson was drafted by the Raiders in the seventh round. They offered him a five-year, $7.4 million deal. Just like that, Jackson had a new hobby.

“I always had it in my mind, even in college, I wanted to do both sports, even at the pro level,” Jackson says. “There were only a couple of other teams out there I would have played for at that time, the Raiders and 49ers. I would have loved to play for (Hall of Fame coach) Bill Walsh. But I’m thankful I got to experience Al Davis, the most charismatic owner in professional sports to this day. He was an icon.”

Everything changed on that January afternoon in 1991. The hip injury led to hip necrosis, which led to hip replacement surgery. Jackson played parts of three more seasons with the Chicago White Sox and California Angels but was never the same player. His last game as a pro athlete was Aug. 10, 1994, getting a single in his final at-bat off Tom Gordon in a 2-1 victory against the Royals.

The Major League Baseball Players Association went on strike the next day and the World Series was canceled a month later, quietly ending Jackson’s career.

“That’s all right. I’ve got no regrets,” Jackson says. “I know Bo Jackson was good for professional sports at one time. I know pro sports was great for Bo Jackson, then and now.”

Jackson lends his name to a training facility in Illinois, Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports, and maintains business relationships with Nike and Gatorade, but otherwise he maintains a quiet profile. He rarely watches sporting events these days. He missed the 2015 Royals’ World Series championship. He skipped the Raiders’ wild-card playoff game last weekend. He didn’t bother watching Clemson’s national championship victory against his old college rival, Alabama, although he does attend games occasionally at Auburn.

“I’m not a good spectator. I get bored watching,” Jackson says. “But I sure loved playing the game. I loved the competition. I loved being better than the next guy. I enjoyed watching people’s eyes jump out of their heads watching me do something that was normal to me.

“So there’s no reason for anyone to feel sorry for what happened to me or what might have been. I didn’t play sports to make it to the Hall of Fame. I just played for the love of sport.

“I still don’t know what my stats were, but I know I’m still reaping the benefits, enjoying the accolades and all of the awards that still come to me.

“I’m blessed. Things turned out all right.”- by Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY

Categories: test feeds

Environmental champion Kevin Trotta passes

January 10, 2017

Kevin Trotta passed away on December 30, 2016, after a 4-year battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Kevin was a sports field specialist, an internationally recognized environmental advocate, president of Environmental Turf Craft, LLC, and an innovator in his field. He held a Bachelors degree in Landscape Horticulture and a Masters degree with honors in Environmental Studies from the City College of New York. Kevin worked as a golf course greenskeeper, lawn care operator, school grounds manager, and turfgrass IPM consultant. He was the Ecological Lawn Care instructor at the New York Botanical Garden for 15 years and taught Landscape Management for 7 years in the science department at Rockland Community College. A sought-after speaker, Kevin presented for the STMA, NYSTA, NYSTLA, NRPA, Audubon, National Park Service, and many other audiences from coast to coast. He developed a pioneering, acclaimed school IPM program at North Rockland High School that reduced and eliminated chemical pesticide use while producing award-winning sports fields. Kevin served as chairman of the first Environmental Committee of the Sports Turf Managers’ Association where he spearheaded the development of STMA’s official Environmental Policy. He was a long-time Board member of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland County, a member of the Cornwall Conservation Advisory Council, and the New York Team Captain of the international environmental group the Global Sports Alliance; he also served for many years on the NYS Community IPM Council. Named the National 2006 Environmental Communicator of the Year by the Turf and Ornamentals Communicators Association, Kevin was a recipient of numerous other awards including the United States EPA Environmental Quality Award, the New York State Excellence in IPM Award, STMA’s President’s Award, NYSTA’s Friend of the Green Industry, and the International G10 Sports and Environment Prize, awarded in Tokyo in 2009. Kevin firmly believed that civilization could enjoy prosperity without trashing the natural world. We offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Terry and their family.

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Free STMA Conference App now available

January 10, 2017

Download the free 2017 STMA Conference App for smart devices! The app aims to increase attendee engagement with interactive features, encourage networking, conveniently connect attendees with exhibitors and sponsors, and improve the overall conference experience.

App Features:

– Personalized schedule builder

– Detailed information about each education session

– Speaker biographies and contact information

– Presentation resources

– Exhibitor and Sponsor lists

– Maps of the convention center, trade show, and event locations

– Social media integration with Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, and YouTube

– Attendee list and in-app messaging

– Conference event reminders

– Conference surveys, session surveys, and polls

– Customizable expense report

Download the STMA conference app to your smart phone or tablet now by going to the App Store and search for 2017 STMA Show. It is available for iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPod Touch, and most Android devices. No internet connection is needed to run the app.

Connect and share with others about the education sessions you are attending, new products and services on the trade show floor, and the various networking opportunities!


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CEO defends FieldTurf alleged product failures

January 10, 2017

FieldTurf CEO Eric Daliere responded to recent negative coverage his company has received in an op-ed published by the New Jersey Star-Ledger last month.

A New Jersey Advance Media investigation into FieldTurf claims the company intentionally misled its customers and sold fields that were deteriorating prematurely.

In the op-ed, Daliere stands by the company’s Duraspine product, and says that despite reports of deteriorating fields in New Jersey and elsewhere, the product is not defective.

“The fact is that the evidence and data show the Duraspine UV issue has not caused, and will not cause, fields to fail during their warranty periods in New Jersey,” Daliere writes. “Just as a tire loses tread over time, splitting and fibrillation is normal for fibers — it is not itself the sign of a defect.”

Daliere also pointed to the company’s New Jersey customers as evidence of the integrity of the product.

“Of the 114 Duraspine fields installed in New Jersey that have passed their eight-year warranty period, only 14 have been replaced. Those replacements were due to normal wear, and 12 of those customers chose a FieldTurf field a second time,” he writes. “The other 100 of these fields that have passed their warranty period are still being played on. The truth is the vast majority of customers in New Jersey have been happy with their product and taxpayers have received good value.”

Additionally, Daliere admitted that there had been a problem with the Duraspine product deteriorating more quickly in high-UV, sunny environments, but claimed that proactive action has mitigated the issue. They sued the Duraspine supplier, brought fiber production in-house, and replaced affected fields.

“We have worked hard to make things right for these customers, and the vast majority have been happy,” Daliere writes.- by Jason Scott, Athletic Business

The full op-ed can be found here.

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Bowl for charity at STMA Conference

January 3, 2017

Join us at the bowling alley for the SAFE Foundation’s night of bowling on Tuesday, January 24, at the AMF Bowling Lanes in Orlando during the STMA Annual Conference.

Win team and individual prizes! Transportation, bowling, dinner and drink tickets included. Sign up with fellow chapter members or other friends and bowl as teams or as an individual.

Help SAFE fund scholarships and educational outreach by participating in this event and start off the conference with a fun night! Thank you to Title Sponsor FIELDS Inc. and Drink Sponsor Beacon Athletics for supporting this fundraising event

The event will take place Tuesday, January 24th, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Buses will begin departing at 5:15 from Coronado Springs Resort and Convention Center. Additional fee required. Act fast! Rates go up January 6.

To sign up: Log in and click here!

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Georgia State wants to buy Turner Field

January 3, 2017

Georgia State University’s plan to buy Turner Field and remake it into a Panthers football stadium cleared a major hurdle when it won unanimous approval of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

The Regents’ approval of the $53 million plan to buy and overhaul the stadium and some surrounding property is a milestone for the downtown university and its development partners, and keeps the purchase on track to be completed by the end of the year.

A presentation to the Regents showing what the stadium could look like included new grandstands in what are now The Ted’s right and center fields.

“Right now we have a time-line and a plan that will make it possible to play in 2017 provided that we don’t hit any unanticipated obstacles,” Georgia State President Mark Becker said. The project will be carried out in multiple phases.

Georgia State wants to create a new seating bowl with 23,000 seats initially, with future plans for 10,000 additional seats. The project includes a new field, reorienting lower bowl seating and upgrading locker rooms and other areas. Georgia State would also relocate its hospitality school into newly renovated space.

Georgia State launched a new website on Wednesday with details about the project, including a plan for a new Panthers baseball field on the site of the former Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. The school said the nearby cauldron for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games will remain.

In August, Georgia State and a development team led by the real estate firm Carter reached a deal with the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority to buy Turner Field for $30 million. The broader redevelopment of the area is valued at $300 million.

Scott Taylor, the president of Carter, said his firm’s development plans are still evolving, but will closely track the wishes of nearby neighborhoods gleaned from a study conducted with the city and the Atlanta Regional Commission.Thatplancalled for walkable streets, dense development with a mix of retail, restaurants, housing and transit, including the potential for light rail.

One of the company’s first plans will be to bring pop-up shops, food trucks and other temporary uses to “activate” the corner of Hank Aaron Drive and Georgia Avenue as the first permanent structures are developed.

He said the plan is “to turn Hank Aaron Drive into one of the greatest streets in America.”

The first major project will be an $80 million private student housing development likely to open in 2019 that could have 400 to 800 beds. It will rise along the Downtown Connector near Turner Field. Taylor said talks also are underway with a grocer and numerous retailers.

The development team also is considering office buildings that could create a business cluster similar to Georgia Tech’s Technology Square in Midtown. The site, with easy access to Harts-field-Jackson International Airport, downtown and burgeoning in-town neighborhoods, could appeal to companies looking to locate near the university or others looking for amenities the future development will offer.

Taylor said the development will offer incubator space and room for startups as well as established companies or corporate relocations.

Some neighborhood groups and students have said they’re concerned the plans will displace longtime residents. They’re pressing Georgia State for actions to ensure current residents benefit.

In other local projects, “Every time there’s been a major development, promises have been made and they haven’t been kept,” said Georgia State sophomore Patricio Cambias, part of a group advocating on the issue.

Carter and Georgia State officials have pledged to work with community leaders.

“I don’t know of any real estate project that we’ve studied longer or harder than this one,” Regent Philip Wilheit Sr. said before a preliminary vote on the plan. “It’s been a long drive but I think it’s a great project.”

Much of the Georgia State money — $26 million — would go toward stadium renovations. Another $22.8 million would be used to purchase the stadium and surrounding parking lots.

The school also is seeking naming-rights partners.

The balance of the land slated to become part of the development would be bought or leased by Carter.

Most of the $52.8 million the Regents approved Wednesday will come from Georgia State’s savings. Becker said funding plans are in line with his pledge earlier this year that the school wouldn’t seek state funding or increase tuition or student fees for the project.- by Molly Bloom and J. Trubey, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


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Soccer pitch opens in Atlanta transit station

January 3, 2017

The MARTA transit system in Atlanta has found a unique way to make youth soccer more available to widespread urban residents.

MARTA has partnered with Soccer in the Streets and Atlanta United to build the world’s first soccer pitch inside the boundaries of a major urban transit system. Located at MARTA’s Five Points station in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the new field will sit right at the hub of Atlanta urban transit, making it convenient and accessible for all Atlanta residents.

Station Soccer, as the project is known, is largely funded by a grant from Atlanta United to the mentorship program Soccer in the Streets. The project will offer free youth soccer, which will be sustained by paid adult leagues.

“Station Soccer represents a unique opportunity to provide a practical pathway to the game of soccer for youth across metro Atlanta. Kids will now be able to take MARTA to the Five Points field to compete and play with peers from diverse communities across the city. We’re proud to partner with Soccer in the Streets and MARTA on this groundbreaking community project,” said Atlanta United president Darren Eales in a press release announcing the plans for the pitch.

The miniature soccer field sits on one of the Five Points concourse and is flanked by stands where spectators can sit and watch. It measures 66 by 99 feet.

MARTA general manager and CEO Keith Parker told Next City that he hopes the new pitch will create a sense of community within the transit system. “These collaborations are important because they turn a rail stop into a point of destination where customers can plan an entire outing — from grabbing a meal to shopping then a match — all while using the system,” he said.

When Five Points was originally built, it was meant to have an amphitheater and other public spaces. The soccer pitch along with a planned community garden are steps toward that greater goal.

See renderings of Station Soccer—Five Points MARTA Station here.


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Fundraising for turf projects

January 3, 2017

The Shrewsbury (MA) school district has begun a capital campaign to raise $1.8 million to install artificial turf and make repairs at the high school athletic campus.

The need for the improvements was identified several years ago.

After months of research by the high school improvement project team, the School Committee unanimously approved the first phase of the project, which entails replacement of the grass stadium field with artificial turf and resurfacing of the track. The vote also included authorization to begin the campaign to raise $1.8 million for the artificial turf portion of the project. Town meeting in 2015 appropriated $285,000 to resurface the track.

The project, proponents said, is needed because of the poor condition of the 14-year-old grass fields. Having a turf field will allow for better and safer playing conditions for

multiple high school sports teams as well as physical education classes. It will also allow for an earlier start to the practice seasons, eliminate moving or rescheduling games because of rain, and allow the high school to host playoff games. Turf could also generate revenue from rentals to club teams and other districts.

Some people have questioned the safety of turf, but the proponents’ research, which included state and federal data, concluded that artificial turf fields do not pose health risks to players or the environment. Bryan Moss, a member of Sustainable Shrewsbury, said while he is supportive of goals to improve the sports fields, he preferred improved natural grass fields.

The project will not use a crumb rubber material infill, the subject of controversy across the country regarding health risks. The product that is recommended is Envirofill, a 98 percent silica sand encapsulated in an acrylic coating. It will be installed on top of a shock pad, which reduces injuries.

Assistant Superintendent Patrick Collins, head of the improvement project team, said about half of the teams Shrewsbury High School competes with in the Wachusett League – including Leominster, Westboro, Lunenburg, Marlboro, Wachusett Regional and Shepherd Hill Regional – already have turf fields, which are considered safer and allow for faster play.

“The rationale is the same one they had, and the one we’re using, which is it will just add access for all our teams on a consistently safe playing surface, is the primary reason to do it. That’s why we’re moving forward with the project,” Mr. Collins said Monday.

Depending on when all the necessary funds are secured, the project is expected to be constructed June through September 2018. The new field would be in use beginning in October 2018.

In the future, there could be two additional phases to the project. Phase 2 would include a second, multisport turf field where the current lacrosse field is located. Phase 3 would be additional stadium seating for the second turf field and potential additional bathroom space and storage for sports equipment.

Mr. Collins said he said he is hopes large donors will step forward, similar to what happened with the primary athletic field at Shepherd Hill Regional High School in Dudley. The Youssef and Moniz families of Dudley, who collectively own several local Dunkin’ Donut shops, donated $1 million to the project. Two local insurance companies also made significant donations.

Mr. Collins said the new turf field has the Dunkin’ Donuts logo stitched into the field. Weymouth-based Gale Associates, which installed the Shepherd Hill field, is contracted for the new Shrewsbury turf field.

“We’re hopeful and want to be optimistic that maybe some corporate donors will want to be partners with us in a similar way,” he said.-Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts)


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Recycled rubber and synthetic industry members move to adopt safety standard

December 29, 2016

Leading members of the recycled rubber and synthetic turf industries today announced that they are jointly cooperating to ensure all synthetic turf and playground infills meet new ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) toy standards for heavy metals to further ensure safety for youth athletes.

ASTM International is the leading global standards organization, establishing industry-wide standards across a wide range of materials, including for all toys sold within the United States. With today’s announcement, all synthetic turf field and playground infill created and used by leading members of the Recycled Rubber Council, Safe Fields Alliance, and Synthetic Turf Council will comply with F3188-16, the Standard Specification for Extractable Hazardous Metals in Synthetic Turf Infill Materials. This comes in addition to products already meeting standards set by the European Union.

“Our industry firmly believes in taking proactive steps to augment ongoing testing by the federal government to reassure parents and policymakers that the fields and playgrounds children play on are every bit as safe as the toys they play with,” said Steve Bigelow, President of the Recycled Rubber Council. “We’ve chosen to voluntarily take this step to demonstrate our commitment to children safety, and we continue to welcome all further scientific-based testing and collaboration towards achieving these ends.”

“Today’s announcement simply reinforces our industry’s commitment to safety and transparency, which we have also made clear through our support of the current federal multi-agency study,” said Rom Reddy, Managing Partner of Sprinturf. “At the same time, it is important to reaffirm that based on dozens of reports, including peer-reviewed academic studies and federal and state government analyses, recycled rubber infill has no link to any health issues. Hopefully this will go one step further towards alleviating any concerns around this issue.”

“With the addition of F3188-16 to our industry guidelines for infill, we continue to take voluntarily steps to adopt key safety standards in the use of our products,” said Daniel Bond, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Synthetic Turf Council. “We are committed to adopting the most stringent of standards moving forward.”

Given the possibility for athletes participating in sports on synthetic turf playing fields to come into contact with or ingest particles of infill materials, through being in compliance with ASTM toy standards, members of the Recycled Rubber Council, Safe Fields Alliance, and Synthetic Turf Council are committed to delivering products where the levels of extractable metals—present at low levels within many everyday products—are within ranges deemed to be safe in children’s toys.

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Artificial turf with rubber crumbs safe to play on, Dutch study finds

December 29, 2016

A Dutch government public health organization said it is safe to play soccer and other sports on artificial turf fields covered in rubber crumbs, following an investigation triggered by fears over dangerous chemicals in the granules.

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment published a report saying that the health risk from playing on such fields, which are common throughout the Netherlands and elsewhere as low-maintenance alternatives to natural grass, is “virtually negligible.”

Read more here

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Newark schools file class-action lawsuit against turf company

December 29, 2016

The Newark school system has filed a class-action lawsuit against the nation’s leading maker of artificial sports fields, FieldTurf, alleging the company defrauded more than 100 public and private schools and municipalities in the state.

The complaint, filed in state Superior Court in Essex County, capped two days of fast-moving developments following an NJ Advance Media investigation that revealed the company sold high-end turf for years after executives knew it was falling apart.

Read more here

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Virtually no San Diego schools perform field hardness tests

December 29, 2016

The number of artificial turf fields at public schools across San Diego County has exploded in the last decade – but a key measure of whether those fields are safe to play on hasn’t kept pace.

Hardly any of the region’s public schools have performed a G-Max test, which measures field hardness to ensure turf fields have not become too hard and too great a risk for concussion and injury for students who take a tumble.

One turf industry veteran said colliding with hardened turf can be like hitting “frozen Earth or concrete.” A turf field designer said not testing for field hardness is like “Russian roulette.”

In recent years, the NFL began performing a G-Max test before every game to make sure it is safe for players. Most San Diego County public school students get no such protection.

A Voice of San Diego survey found nearly none of San Diego County’s public schools are testing their fields for hardness regularly and only a few districts have tested them at all. Several districts reported G-Max testing their fields once after installation or not at all, even as fields remained in place for several years. Several local school districts are skipping the tests even though field contracts require them.

Southwestern College was the only public agency surveyed that produced reports showing regular G-Max testing spanning multiple years.

Most local turf fields come with crumb rubber infill, or chopped up tires that act as a cushion between blades of synthetic grass. Exposure to the material has raised its own health concerns locally and abroad, spurring new safety studies by state and federal agencies, under way now.

But while experts study crumb rubber exposure, turf field hardness is recognized as a legitimate safety issue industrywide. Though not legally required, field owners are urged to closely monitor their fields using G-Max tests, and some field construction contracts require regular testing.

Turf fields harden over time as the rubber infill pieces get washed out by rain and inadvertently carried off the field by players’ cleats and clothes. Sand used in the infill mixture can also get compacted.

To get a G-Max score, a special weight is dropped onto the field surface and equipment measures how fast the object slows down. A harder surface will cause the weight to stop more rapidly. Multiple drops are made on a single spot at various points across the field. The scores – measured in gs, a unit of gravitational force – are then averaged.

Typically, a new artificial turf installation may score under 100 gs or in the low 100s. After a few years, scores typically rise to the mid-100s and up.

Scoring below 165 is still considered safe by the Synthetic Turf Council, a nonprofit trade association. Above that level becomes precarious.

Another organization called ASTM, which issues standards for how G-Max tests are done, says turf fields should never score higher than 200 gs. Fields that score above 200 are unsafe for play and often need to be replaced. Below that level, fields might need more infill cushioning to make the field softer.

The 200 maximum “can cause death … 200 is the equivalent of frozen Earth or concrete,” said John Schedler, a 32-year turf industry veteran and ex-director at FieldTurf, one of the nation’s leading turf companies. “Very recently the NFL recognized the importance of the concussion data they were getting back and that’s when they enacted this (175 G-Max) gameday standard.”

Schedler, who now runs his own consulting firm, Baraka Sport, said, “G-Max will increase every year. … From a liability standpoint, it just makes no sense for schools to not make sure that that athletic field system is safe. It’s a very expensive piece of athletic equipment that requires maintenance and tuning and their kids play on it daily.”

Skipping the test “is a big deal, in my opinion,” Larry Foster, a Bay Area landscape architect who designs synthetic turf fields for schools, wrote in an email. Artificial turf fields “need to be tested every year. … It is Russian roulette otherwise.”

Concussion concerns hit close to home when a La Jolla High football player suffered a serious brain injury on the field in fall 2014.

The 17-year-old student was sent back into an Oct. 16, 2014, game after saying he was hurt. San Diego Unified changed how it handles student concussions last year.

But measuring field hardness is not part of the protocol.

San Diego Unified, the county’s largest district and turf field buyer, has G-Max tested only nine of its 44-plus artificial turf fields installed over the years. Those tests took place in 2008.

“In 2008, the district performed GMAX tests on several fields that were nearing the end of their useful life, and those fields were subsequently replaced. The district has not performed GMAX testing on any fields since 2008,” wrote Cynthia Reed-Porter, district spokeswoman, in an email. “Testing would typically occur when a field begins to show signs of wear. The district’s older, worn fields have been replaced.”

It turns out contract documents drafted by design firm Mele Amantea Architects II in 2011 for San Diego Unified’s fields require a G-max score between 125 and 175 for eight years following installation. Since tests aren’t being done, it’s unclear if the fields are meeting those standards.

Southwestern College spokeswoman Lillian Leopold said there’s a singular reason it tests its turf fields regularly: “Safety.”

Leopold said in an email that the college tests the fields annually.

“Fields rarely become unsafe overnight, so testing once a year provides adequate warning of emerging safety issues,” she said. “Significant changes in GMAX readings can be an early sign that problems are developing within the turf system.”

Most local districts haven’t been as diligent, but some – like Vista Unified and Carlsbad Unified – responded to Voice of San Diego’s inquiry saying they would do better in the future.

Others defended the decision to skip the tests.

“We don’t routinely conduct GMAX testing given the FieldTurf product that is installed at our sites is widely installed throughout Southern California and has undergone extensive industry-wide testing deeming it the safest synthetic turf field,” said Grossmont Union High School District executive secretary Catherine Melick in an email.

El Capitan High School was tested this year, and a few other Grossmont fields have been tested sporadically over the years, in 2003 and 2008, records show.

Poway Unified in North County and the Sweetwater Union High School District in the South Bay could only produce one G-Max report each, even though each district has had multiple turf fields for years. Sweetwater did not produce any tests for Montgomery High’s 2010 field, even though the G-Max is supposed to remain below 160.

San Diego State also said no testing had been done on its turf fields, and San Diego Community College District did not produce any reports for the Mesa College field nearly seven weeks after the request was made. Palomar College produced one test for Minkoff Soccer Field from 2013.

Coronado Unified recently tested the field at Coronado High while exploring litigation against the turf manufacturer FieldTurf, which has seen more than 20 fields fall apart prematurely across the region due to a defect. Coronado officials declined to release the results, citing attorney-client privilege.

Both turf consultant Schedler and architect Foster said they make sure projects they’re involved with include G-Max testing and maximum scores permitted throughout the warranty period, not just after installation.

Schedler recommends fields get tested after installation and “at least every other year.”

Records show project specifications for fields installed at La Costa Canyon High School last year and San Dieguito Academy in 2013 came with detailed testing requirements.

Upon installation, the fields needed to score no higher than 130 at any location, and during the entire warranty period, the field cannot score higher than 175. In any given year, the field score cannot increase more than 15 gs, Seattle-based landscape architecture firm D.A. Hogan & Associates wrote. Testing needed to occur after installation, and after year one, two, four, six and again 60 days prior to the warranty expiration. Costs would be paid for by the turf contractor.

Despite those requirements, San Dieguito Union High School District officials could only produce one test report from 2013 for Torrey Pines High.

The project specifications for Fallbrook High School’s 2008 field required a G-Max “between 110 and 125 upon installation and shall never exceed 135 at any test location for the entire warranty period … without the use of any supplemental padding.”

Fallbrook Union High School District Superintendent Hugo Pedroza said in an email, “When the turf was initially installed, it required GMAX testing and it was done. The second time around, when the ‘carpet’ was replaced, GMAX was not required because the area below the carpet was not disturbed.”

While it’s not uncommon for districts to skip the test, that may be changing.

“I think it’s becoming more and more common that it is written in the specifications and it is getting enforced because of the heightened awareness of concussions,” Schedler said. “There has been an awful lot of media publicity about concussions and parents and owners are becoming a lot more concerned and the specifiers and designers of these fields listen.”- By Ashly McGlone

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