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Why Turf It?

Why Turf for a Grand Ledge Community Stadium?
     Access:  Access to an adequate facility for the growing requirements and use by multiple sports and organizations for male and female Grand Ledge athletes and students.  An analysis of the current Grand Ledge facilities used by todays sports teams, and organizations has concluded that the existing facilities do not meet the needs of these organizations,   Additional evaluation of the existing costs, accessibility, alternative venues (Marsh Field, Boughton Field, the “22 Acres”), as well as the infrastructure of these venues; lighting, parking, locker rooms, facilities, concessions, etc.…, has led to the conclusion that the most efficient way to achieve the goal of access is to change the current surface of the football stadium to a multi-purpose surface.  

What is synthetic turf? 
     The latest generation of synthetic turf is a grass-like ground cover that replicates lush natural grass in appearance and function.  When used on athletic fields, it provides a consistent year-round, all-weather playing surface built to withstand extended use without downtime for recovery.  It is a low maintenance, weed-free surface that doesn’t need to be watered or fertilized, and is available in styles that look like the grass types that are prevalent locally.

How is the new generation of synthetic turf different from that of the past?
     Increasing demand for high quality playing surfaces and intense competition for field accessibility has given rise to a new generation of synthetic turf systems that replicate the look and feel of lush, natural grass.  While the first artificial turf systems used in the 1960’s and 1970’s were hard, significant advancements have been made during the past few decades.  By the 1990’s, the first synthetic turf systems with sand and rubber infill were introduced, which dramatically improved player performance and safety.  Today’s synthetic turf, used by many NFL franchises, as well as member associations and teams of the Union of European Football Associations, (UEFA), Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the International Rugby Board and other international sports federations, combines the playing characteristics, look and feel of natural turf, with the advantages of increased frequency of usage, extra revenue generation, safety, longer playing sessions, fewer canceled games, and lowest cost per playing day.

Are there health risks associated with recycled rubber infill?
     A broad-based body of scientific research from academic, independent third party, federal and state government organizations involving chemical engineers, toxicologists, epidemiologists, chemists, biologists and other medical professionals has unequivocally failed to find any link between recycled rubber infill and cancer or any other human health risk.

How does synthetic turf compare to natural grass on player injury rates?
     Made with resilient materials for safety, synthetic turf sports fields are always ready to play on.  Traction, rotation and slip resistance, surface abrasion and stability meet the rigorous requirements of the most respected sports leagues and federations. 
     So it’s no surprise that recent studies indicate that the injury risk of playing on synthetic turf is no greater than natural grass:
     Three separate long-term studies published by researchers from Norway and Sweden compared acute injuries on synthetic turf and natural grass.  The studies examined the type, location and severity of injuries sustained by hundreds of players during thousands of hours of matches and training over a four to five-year period.  Many types of acute injuries to men and women soccer players, particularly knee injury, ankle sprain, muscle strains, concussion, MCL tears, and fractures were evaluated.  The researchers concluded that the injury risk of playing on artificial turf is no greater than playing on natural grass:
     An analysis by FIFA’s Medical Assessment and Research Centre of the incidence and severity of injuries sustained on grass and synthetic turf during two FIFA U-17 World Championships.  According to FIFA, “The research showed that there was little difference in the incidence, nature and causes of injuries observed during games played on artificial turf compared with those played on grass”.
     A recent NCAA study among schools nationwide comparing injury rates between natural and synthetic turf found that the injury rate during practice was 4.4% on natural turf, and 3.5% on synthetic turf.

How does the cost of a synthetic turf field compare to a natural turf field?
     A synthetic turf field usually has a higher upfront cost, but the field often pays for itself over 3-4 years, proving to be a highly cost-effective investment.  Synthetic turf fields are typically utilized for about 3,000 hours of play per year, with no “rest” required, the equivalent of three to four well-maintained natural turf fields.  In addition, synthetic turf maintenance costs are two to three times less than natural turf, since no mowing, irrigation or chemicals are needed.  Because of its consistent availability, a synthetic turf field is also a reliable source or rental revenue for schools and communities.
     According to landscape architecture professionals from Syracuse University, the cost of installing and maintaining a synthetic turf sports field over a 20-year period (including one replacement field) is over three times less expensive per event than the cost of a grass field over the same period of time.  This is because many more events can be held on a synthetic turf sports field.  “Financially speaking, artificial turf is more cost-effective over time” according to Cory Jenner, landscape architecture professional from Syracuse.  This cost per event advantage is validated by many other authorities as well as field owners.
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