Synthetic Turf Council to Draft Shock Pad Guidelines
Concussion Concerns Motivate the STC to Move Towards Safer Fields
In response to a growing awareness of concussions sustained from head injuries during sporting events, the Synthetic Turf Council (STC) has begun to draft guidelines regulating shock pads used under synthetic turf fields. The STC, of which Armacell is a member, is a nonprofit with a stated mission “to serve as the global forum to promote, develop, grow and advocate for the synthetic turf industry.”. In that capacity, it has become an industry authority on turf safety and related issues. In its June 2018 newsletter, the STC cited statistics showing that 4 million sports-related concussions occur during the US each year, and that of those sustained concussions, 20% are caused by the impact of a head hitting the playing field. These and other alarming statistics highlight the need for extra safety precautions surrounding turf fields on which sports are played.
Though specific guidelines have yet to be drafted, the STC’s goal in introducing these guidelines will be to elevate player safety on turf fields. The new guidelines will “define the minimal quality criteria for shock pads.” These rules may require the use of shock pads, which are critical for turf fields to meet safety standards required by major sports leagues like the NFL and World Rugby.
According to the STC, turf fields with safety performances comparable to well-kept natural grass fields normally have a G Max rating between 90 and 110. G Max is a rating that determines how well a field absorbs the shock from an impact. Armacell’s ArmaSport® Turf Underlayment Shock Pad will become increasingly important as it can put fields within that range, keeping players safe. A full evaluation of ArmaSport® Turf-Underlayment systems can be found here.