Im­prov­ing ar­ti­fi­cial sports fields


‘‘There will al­ways be some in­juries on sports fields due to the na­ture of the sports be­ing played.’’

Sports lovers can look for­ward to im­proved ar­ti­fi­cial turfs in Auck­land in the fu­ture.

Auck­land Coun­cil man­ager of sports parks Grant Jen­nings says 11 turfs now have crumb rub­ber in­fills.

‘‘These out­comes in­clude greater re-us­abil­ity of the in­fill and less waste to land­fill, no odour, bet­ter whole of life cost­ing, lower po­ten­tial heat is­sues, and greater fo­cus on green engi­neer­ing out­comes,’’ he says.

Jen­nings says they are con- tin­u­ally re­search­ing op­tions to achieve sev­eral im­proved out­comes.

‘‘Re­cy­cled rub­ber crumb is not the only in­fill ma­te­rial that can be used in ar­ti­fi­cial turf sys­tems.

‘‘Other op­tions cur­rently avail­able are EPDM [eth­yl­ene propy­lene di­ene monomer], a syn­thetic rub­ber TPE [ther­mo­plas­tic elas­tomer], and cork.’’

Pop­u­lar sports codes in­clud­ing football, rugby and touch rugby use ar­ti­fi­cial turf at some grounds around Auck­land.

While it is im­pos­si­ble to pre­vent in­jury in any sport, ACC re­vealed data from its ‘no fault’ scheme shows lac­er­a­tions, punc­tures, stings, soft tis­sue in­juries and frac­tures are the top in­juries re­sult­ing from play on ar­ti­fi­cial turfs.

‘‘There may be in­stances where an ac­ci­dent oc­curred as a re­sult of [play­ing on ar­ti­fi­cial turf] but this de­tail wasn’t recorded in the ac­ci­dent de­scrip­tion on the claim form,’’ ACC se­nior me­dia ad­vi­sor Stephanie Melville says.

‘‘The level of de­tail pro­vided can vary greatly. For this rea­son the data can­not be pre­sented as de­fin­i­tive.’’

Col­lege Ri­fles di­rec­tor of ju­nior rugby David Gains­ford says burns and scrapes are two no­table ex­pe­ri­ences they have had from the use of ar­ti­fi­cial turfs in sports like rugby, touch rugby and lacrosse.

‘‘This in­crease is due to the fact the fields are used at least twice as much as nat­u­ral fields and the vol­ume of num­bers us­ing the fields at one time,‘‘ Gains­ford says.

Auck­land Coun­cil main­tains all syn­thetic fields are cer­ti­fied to Fifa and IRB in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, as per the use of the field, and a cur­rent cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is main­tained.

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