By: Varun Maheshwari
In early September, Gilman revamped the new turf donated by the Class of 1976. The new renovations to Edward Brown Field were necessary to avoid injuries. “Athletes can make better cuts now on Brown Field because the slippage is less,” said Head Groundskeeper and Turf Manager Mr. John Denholm.
The initial problem was caused by the infill of the turf—called zeolite—which was virgin rubber. The size of this rubber was too small and got caked, meaning the rubber collapsed on itself. Therefore, the turf started to get very slippery and needed to be replaced. Over a period of time, the infill broke down, but now they have made the infill into four layers: the bigger zeolite, virgin rubber, coconut husk, and cork.
Another improvement is the softness of the field. Hardness is rated in a GMAX rating: “the ratio of the maximum acceleration (deceleration) experienced during an impact, to the normal rate of acceleration due to gravity,” according to Turf Test.com. Grass is about 90-110 GMAX and the goal of the renovations was to get the GMAX rating of Brown field similar to that of grass. Currently, the turf is around 100-110 GMAX. The goal of getting a high GMAX rating is to limit head trauma as blows to the head from a hard field promote concussions.
Furthermore, this new turf is not cancerous. Some studies have proven that turf can cause cancer, but Athletic Trainer Ms. Bristow confirmed that our turf does not. A risk of cancer only comes from recycled tires, but since our turf is made from virgin rubber, the chances of cancer are 0%.
The temperature was another big concern of the Athletic Department because of how hot turf fields can get. Brown Field, however, is not subject to massive heat fluctuations because the zeolite, coconut, and cork all absorb water when it rains. Later, those materials release water to cool down the field when necessary. “Those were the three things we addressed and we wanted to find something better and different than what's out there,” says Ms. Lori Bristow.