Monday, October 26, 2015

Opinion: Vote NO To Grass Only--Question Two

Opinion piece submitted by Thomas D’Aquila
I understand that there is confusion about  QUESTION TWO which is  part of the upcoming Referendum to be held  on Election Day, November 3rd.  This question, if passed, will eliminate the use of any Synthetic Turf fields.  The Common Council had a study done at the cost of $80,000 to help them decide what to should be done to improve the fields. The study  suggested that both grass and synthetic turf fields are needed throughout the city. There was an elaborate plan for the fields that went along with the study. The last time a study was conducted was the Storch study in 1982, and then John Milardo did a more recent study before he retired. Nothing of value was done with either of these studies and the fields are slowly being worn out by the continuous use they receive.

There has been much discussion about the safety of synthetic turf fields here and elsewhere. I have read numerous reports from various states such as, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Virginia. I have also read a newspaper article taken from USA Today (10/8/15) and a report from a leading toxicologist, Laura Green, Ph.D MIT. These reports and articles all state that all conclusive evidence shows that synthetic fields, using rubber crumb do not pose a health risk to those who play on them.

 Another plus in favor of Synthetic Tuft fields is that four state agencies have combined efforts in a study. They include The University of Connecticut Health Center, The Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station, The Department of Public Health and The Department of Environmental Protection and all have concluded, that there is no conclusive evidence that playing fields with crumb rubber leads to any health risks.

Times have changed; we are no longer a city that hosts just football, baseball and soccer teams. More and different teams have evolved and more teams will mean we need more Lacrosse and ultimate Frisbee have taken the city by storm, not to mention our city’s soccer program (over 1000 participants), the Little League summer and fall programs, American legion summer and fall programs, Lacrosse summer and fall, and softball summer and fall teams, just to mention a few.  Our high school cannot accommodate these new sports as well as existing sports. Many of our junior varsity teams (i.e. softball etc.) have to be bused to other sites. I have not even mentioned our tennis teams (boys and girls) who have no courts on site and have to be bused daily to practice. We need to improve what we have and the way to do this is by making some of the fields synthetic. Synthetic fields will tolerate the high usage and will help cut down on the maintenance needed everyday to maintain grass fields.

Vote NO to grass only  -- question 2.

 This is the year to change and to improve what we now have for future generations. Let us do it right this time. I am in favor of synthetic turf fields because some of the popular sports are very hard on fields. Sports such as Lacrosse, football and soccer tear a field up, especially in inclement weather, whereas a synthetic turf field can handle any sport, in any weather, without high maintenance. This also means teams can practice on turf fields without ruining them for game time. You get the ultimate usage on a synthetic turf field.

There are synthetic turf fields in our city already. Xavier, Wesleyan University (2) and Middletown High School have turf fields. Neighboring towns such as Durham, Rocky Hill Wethersfield, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Berlin, Hamden, and New Britain, which is now putting in another tuft field, all have tuft fields. In the Ivy League there are six of eight schools have synthetic turf fields. It is hard to imagine that all these entities have not done their research and deemed synthetic turf safe for use.

My final reason for voting NO to question 2 is because I believe that there might be several new things added to this question that were not there originally.  The true costs and specs to complete this project have not been included, such as a boat launch, boathouse brick pathways, riverfront and playscapes. Please become educated and vote QUESTION TWO DOWN.


Anonymous said...

I don't necessary agree with the grass v turf argument but I do think this whole thing has been badly planned from the start. I will be voting No for that reason.

Anonymous said...

Hazardous chemicals in the turf seem to have been addressed pretty well.

However, what about the injury rate? I'd like to see more research around this before more artificial fields are installed. Grass may get torn up during play, but does the toughness of artificial turf transfer those forces to player's bodies?

Lots of research around NFL and collegiate injures suggest that grass is better for player's injury rate, especially ACL injuries.

Vinnie Senatore said...

How does artificial turf stand up on very hot summer days? Does the turf get so hot as to cause burns on the athletes when they fall or are tackled and then skid on the turf?

Anonymous said...

I will vote NO, but mostly due to the lack of full understanding of the bonding issues within, and that the town does NOT need any additional bonding. These improvements can be paid for over time without the added cost of interest in the bonding.

Anonymous said...

Woodrow Wilson tennis courts? Where did this money go?

The common council approved $749,000 last year for the tennis courts and a track there, but bids came in over the budget for the project and city officials decided to delay action and put the money toward the tennis court portion of the job.....

David Bauer said...

To Anon 10/27 1:23 PM

The Hunting Hill/Newtown St. tennis courts are being designed, and are scheduled to be built in Spring 2016.

Anonymous said...

Some injury data----
less injuries and less sever injuries on FieldTurf than on grass

College Football Safety Study Results
Incidence, Mechanisms, and Severity of Game-Related College Football
Injuries on FieldTurf Versus Natural Grass(A 3-Year Prospective Study)

Michael C. Meyers, PhD, FACSM
From the Department of Health and Human Development, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana.

74% Fewer Muscle Tears

42% Lower ACL Trauma

32% Fewer Ligament Tears

22% Fewer Severe Injuries

19% Fewer Substantial Injuries

12% Fewer Concussions

10% Less Injury From Shoe Surface Interaction during Contact

8% Less Injury From Shoe Surface Interaction during Non-Contact

7% Fewer Total Injuries

Source: American Journal of Sports Medicine

High School Football Safety Study Results Incidence, Causes, and Severity of High School Football Injuries on FieldTurf Versus Natural Grass (A 5-Year Prospective Study)

Michael C. Meyers, PhD, FACSM, and Bill S. Barnhill, MD

From the Human Performance Research Center, West Texas A&M University,
Canyon, Texas, and Panhandle Sports Medicine Associates, Amarillo, Texas.

55% Fewer Neural Injuries

47% Fewer Cranial / Cervical Injuries

45% Less Time Lost to Long-Term Injuries (Lasting 22+ Days)

38% Fewer 3rd Degree Injuries

35% Less Time Lost to Short-Term Injuries (Lasting 1-2 Days)
Source: American Journal of Sports Medicine