Synthetic Turf - Good for Sports, Good for the Environment
Exercise is crucial for children, especially in these times when a majority of American kids are either overweight or obese. Athletic practices, sports, even pick-up games provide kids with not only fresh air, but also an opportunity to exercise their muscles. All these activities require space, but not all playgrounds are safe considering the rising costs of maintenance sports grounds. There is nothing more important than safety when it comes to children.
Parents always display a great attention to detail when selecting toys, beds, and furniture for their children. But when it comes to playing areas no one ever takes a look at the ground. Most injuries on playgrounds occur as a result of a fall on abrasive surfaces which are hard and plain unsafe. With synthetic grass you can have a consistent playground surface anywhere!
The technology has improved a lot and synthetic grass now looks just like natural grass, but without the hassles of a natural grass. The best part is that maintaining a synthetic lawn is simple. If leaves or tree waste accumulates on the surface you simply use a blower to get rid of them. A thorough cleaning can be done with a water hose.
Because artificial turf fields are so much more durable than grass, they give much higher playability and allow for broader access. They can be played on at all times of the year. In times when playing fields are scarce, they give youth sports organizations the space to practice that they otherwise might not have had. The problem of spring and fall rains which result in the cancellation of so many games and practices can be avoided. One muddy field will no longer ruin the rest of your season.
A synthetic grass surface should make the ball bounce in a way similar to that on a natural grass field. Once the sports field is installed multiple tests are performed to ensure a level surface, in addition to analyzing the ball roll and ball bounce measurements. Governing organizations of several sports including soccer, rugby and hockey require field tests to be performed before the field is approved for use.
Use of Synthetic Turf
There are more than 8,000 synthetic grass sports fields currently being used throughout the US, in 2012 more than 1,000 fields were installed in American schools, colleges, parks and professional sports stadiums. Since 2003, over 70 FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cup matches have been played on synthetic turf soccer fields. Faux grass is a popular solution for other sports such as field hockey, baseball, tennis, lacrosse and rugby. It makes for a perfect practice field all year round and ensures the sportspersons are well trained.
Synthetic turf soccer pitches have taken off quite well in England and the US. This has spurred many artificial lawn manufacturers to research on creating a better and more refined product. But there are definitely many compelling arguments for using synthetic grass for sporting purposes.
Why Synthetic Grass
- It makes for a longer playing season and keeps the ground level
- There are enormously decreased maintenance costs; the turf lasts up to 15 years and requires minimal care
- There is no need to water it
- There is no need for fertilizers, so none can get into the sub-soil water bodies
- There is no fear of mud or grass stains
- Cushioned surface allows for minimal injuries during falls
- Dramatically improves water conservation by allowing water to run-off and collect where required
Artificial Turf Improves Performance of Sportsmen
Let’s take the case of the football team at Salesian High School, Richmond, California. Located in a city with one of the country’s highest murder rates, the students at Salesian High focused their efforts on academics. The conditions of their grass field were so poor that the soccer and football teams were on a three-year notice to be shut down. This changed when the school raised funds to install a synthetic turf field.
They came back from the brink of closure to defeat a team branded nigh unbeatable, with players twice its size. It was Salesian’s first game on their brand new synthetic grass field. The field is now being hailed as the ‘Real Field of Dreams’.
Artificial turf is designed to look like grass, where green ‘blades’ of dyed polyethylene or nylon are glued to fabric backing. In order to give the surface some cushion, unlike the original fields that were as hard as concrete, “infill” is laid down to function as the dirt and to help the strands stay upright. This infill is usually made of tire crumb – ground up recycled car and truck tires. The result is a pristine looking surface that requires little maintenance.
In contact sports such as rugby and soccer, it is imperative for the synthetic grass surfaces to be soft and cushioned so as to reduce the likelihood of players getting injured. Impact injuries are reduced thanks to cushioned synthetic grass surfaces.
There is no doubt that the introduction of artificial playing surfaces has changed the way many games are played around the world. This has been specifically felt in football, tennis, soccer and cricket. However, do not consider that installing a synthetic playing field is the end of your problems. There is a certain amount of maintenance that is involved in keeping the field up to the standards of the game.
Synthetic grass is the perfect surface to play sports on as it reduces the amount of injuries and improves the performance of the players. Just make sure that nobody spits a wad of chewing-gum on your turf, that’ll be one thing no one would want to clean up.
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