0 Heed the synthetic surface warning

Synthetic surface praised in the US

By Editor

Below is a press release from 'FieldTurf' of an independent report by the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). Here on Pitchcare we have written articles and encouraged debate in the past about 'FieldTurf' and the use of synthetics in professional and amateur sport. Many of us feel that with each new generation of synthetic surface, the life of natural grass surfaces, certainly at the higher levels, has limited time in which to prove itself as viable in the longer term. It is important, that we as an industry continue to make progress by keeping natural grass as the preferred choice for professional sportsmen and women.

There is much research and trialling of new systems such as the lighting/heat system reviewed recently at Sunderland, the palletised and drop in turf systems at the Millennium Stadium and Lords Cricket Ground, the re-think on stadium designs and layouts and a myriad of biological technologies, which include, the use of micro-organisms, natural (high cation exchange) minerals and sugars.

Feel free to have your say about the possibilities of a plastic future, via the message board or drop us a line at mail@pitchcare.com.

San Diego, CA (January 23, 2003)-- - The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) released their bi-annual ranking of NFL stadium fieldsduring a press conference at the Super Bowl Media Centre today. As expected, the results demonstrate the striking success and widespread player approval of FieldTurf?s artificial turf system, the industry leader in synthetic grass surfacing. The survey was conducted by the NFLPA at team meetings from September through November during the 2002 season. A total of 1280 active NFL players from all 32 teams completed survey forms. Of the 30 NFL stadium fields rated by the players, FieldTurf?s surface at Seahawks Stadium was ranked third best overall, ahead of 20 natural grass fields used by NFL teams. Amazingly, only natural grass fields at Tampa Bay and Arizona were ranked higher than FieldTurf by NFL players.

?I think the results of this NFLPA survey say it all,? said FieldTurf CEO John Gilman. ?This proves what we have been saying all along. FieldTurf provides the best playability in all conditions, and produces a consistently high performance surface for today?s elite athletes. Our patented grass system was designed to replicate not only real grass, but the best real grass. And obviously the NFL players agree. They recognize that FieldTurf provides superior footing?the right level of traction and good ?torsional foot release? for player safety?along with excellent shock absorbency and a low abrasion level. All of these factors have led to a remarkable decrease in injuries. We?re very proud of the results of this survey. It?s a testament to the quality of our engineering and installation teams worldwide.?

In addition to the third-place ranking of the FieldTurf at Seahawks Stadium, the FieldTurf surface at Detroit?s Ford Field was ranked 11th in the NFLPA survey, ahead of 11 natural grass fields, and all other artificial turf fields. These rankings are even more impressive when considering that both Seahawks Stadium and Ford Field just opened in 2002, meaning that many NFL teams have not yet played on these new FieldTurf surfaces.

FieldTurf?s nearest artificial turf competitor was AstroPlay, an all-rubber filled surface that the Chicago Bears played on during their 2002 home schedule at Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois. The University of Illinois? AstroPlay field was ranked 20th by NFL players, a full 17 slots below FieldTurf?s Seattle rating. Texas Stadium?s RealGrass ranked 22nd, while the NexTurf at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium finished tied for 27th. The six NFL teams that play on AstroTurf were all ranked 24th or lower, including St Louis (24th), New Orleans (26th), Atlanta (T-27th), Buffalo (T-29th), Minnesota (T-29th) and Indianapolis (30th).

Beginning in 1997, FieldTurf, through intense research and development efforts, has dramatically revitalized the artificial surfacing industry, taking turf from the ?carpet-age? to a grass-like engineered system with a special silica sand, cryogenic rubber and Nike Grind filling. With over 550 installations around the world, FieldTurf is not only the choice of the pros, but it is now also the most widely-respected surfacing system in high schools, colleges, city parks and recreation centres worldwide. In facilities such as Seahawks Stadium, Tampa?s Tropicana Field, Olympic Stadium in Moscow and the Tokyo Dome, FieldTurf has proven to be THE turf of choice for football, soccer, baseball or any other sport that is played at today?s busy sports facilities. Seahawks Stadium is a multi-purpose sporting venue, which by utilizing FieldTurf?s patent pending processes, can be converted from a football field to a FIFA approved soccer venue within a matter of hours.

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