July 2015

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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FIELD SCIENCE 12 SportsTurf | July 2015 A s the dawn of another football season is upon us, it is once again a good time to put field safety at the forefront of our minds. While player-to-player collisions and injuries receive the most attention, the playing surface's role in injury risk should not be overlooked. An understanding of potential field risks along with regularly inspecting your playing field is an important step in pro- tecting the athletes using your field. As you are likely aware, the NFL requires all fields to be tested and inspected before every game. Field hard- ness (Gmax) along with a number of other surface characteristics must be measured and reported to the league office each week. Although it may be impractical to test your field before every game, a routine field testing and inspection program is the first step in a proactive approach to field safety. INSPECTING & TESTING SYNTHETIC FIELDS Gmax testing is one of the most impor- tant components of a field testing program. The easiest and most econom- ical method to measure Gmax is with the Clegg Impact Tester. This is the same device used in the NFL. Other devices such as the F355 can also be used. In the NFL, all fields, both natu- ral and synthetic, must be below 100 Gmax in all locations when tested with the Clegg. If hardness levels begin to approach 100, steps are taken to lower these values. For synthetic turf fields, this is often accomplished by installing addi- tional crumb rubber infill. Routine infill depth measurements, especially in high-use areas, can alert you to developing issues before they become significant. You can obtain your target infill depth range from your turf manufacturer. If you see infill levels drop below the lower limit, infill should be added. In addition to improving safety, this proactive approach can help prevent or limit large scale field remediation projects required once significant prob- lems have fully developed. Infill depth ■ BY TOM SERENSITS AND DR. ANDY MCNITT PROACTIVE APPROACH KEY TO FIELD SAFETY

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