Safety at core of decision to partner with AstroTurf and its Slit-Film Turf design
Germantown Md. – The Maryland Soccer Foundation announced it will replace its existing turf fields with cutting edge synthetic turf fields provided by AstroTurf. The two biggest upgrades to the new fields compared to the old surfaces are the use of organic type for the infill and the addition of a shock absorbing pad under the top layer.
The shock absorption pad used in the new fields will have a maximum GMAX rating (hardness of surface) of 120. The harder the surface the more impact the athlete absorbs and therefore the higher risk of injury. Perspective on the GMAX rating is the lower the better for the athlete. As a basis of comparison, the NFL requires a GMAX rating for all of its fields of 165 or less and a typical natural grass field has a GMAX rating of 90.
“In researching potential replacement fields safety was always our first area of concern,” said Maryland SoccerPlex Executive Director Trish Heffelfinger. “What stood out to us immediately was AstroTurf’s use of Zeofill, an organic infill which among other things helps keep the fields at a cooler temperature. The Brock Power Base shock pad AstroTurf uses was also a priority because it will help reduce injuries, particularly concussions.”
The organic infill the SoccerPlex will specifically use is Zeofill, a naturally occurring mineral mined in Death Valley, California. Zeofill consists of tiny white stones which are porous to aid drainage and resist excessive heating. Another reason Zeofill is more attractive than other infill options are that within three months of installation Zeofill is fully integrated thereby minimizing “splash” of the infill, and ideally eliminating the contamination of shoes, clothes, etc.
“We thought AstroTurf’s product was the best solution for replacing the current turf fields,” said Ryan Bjorn, Director of Grounds & Environmental Management for the Maryland SoccerPlex. “It provides better safety for athletes competing at the SoccerPlex and we think environmentally it was head and shoulders above other alternatives we reviewed.”
The new fields will be denser than the previous ones, which will give players an experience closer to playing on a real grass field. The turf being replaced had a “face weight” (essentially density of carpet stitching) of 40 oz. and the new one will be 80 oz. which will increase durability and longevity as well as playability. In addition, to extend the life of the fields, they will not have the inlaid lines that you see on most synthetic turf. The SoccerPlex grounds crew will paint the lines on the field based on the planned activity.
Construction on the new fields begins today November 27, 2017 and should be completed on January 13th, 2018. Once completed the fields will be open year-round.
For athletes and sport enthusiasts, AstroTurf® has redefined the way the game is played. The brand offers advanced, state-of-the-art, multi-sport and specialized synthetic turf systems with proprietary engineered technologies. A growing number of high schools, colleges, professional sports teams and municipalities continue to select AstroTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety. To learn more, visit AstroTurf’s newly redesigned website at www.astroturf.com.
About the Maryland SoccerPlex and Discovery Sports Center
The Maryland SoccerPlex features a combination of 24 professionally maintained, regulation-sized soccer fields, an award-winning stadium field, Maureen Hendricks Field, and overall some of the highest quality facilities in the country. The SoccerPlex hosts youth leagues, adult leagues, youth tournaments, NCAA Division I college matches and conference championships (ACC), U.S. Open Cup matches (D.C. United), professional women’s matches (Washington Spirit) and a variety of international teams and competitions.
The Discovery Sports Center is the largest open indoor space in Montgomery County. The arena features 8 basketball and/or volleyball courts on a lined urethane surface from March to November. In November, two synthetic turf fields are rolled out complete with netting for indoor soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, baseball and rugby.
The mission of the SportsPlex is to create a fun, nurturing and safe environment for all participants. The focus on child safety was further enhanced in 2015 when the Concussion and Sudden Cardiac Arrest Management Policy (“CCAMP”) was introduced. The policy ensures the protection of players as well as the education of coaches, staff and families on concussion symptoms, treatment and prevention.