Proving that safety and field performance is important for athletes at all levels, Washington State University in Pullman, Washington selected Brock International to provide the supplemental pad systems used underneath its new synthetic turf intramural playing fields.
Washington State installs supplement pads under new synthetic fields
Proving that safety and field performance is important for athletes at all levels, Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, Washington selected Brock International to provide the supplemental pad systems used underneath its new synthetic turf intramural playing fields. Brock PowerBase, the only Cradle to Cradle Certified CM product in the synthetic turf industry, is a shock pad and drainage layer that reduces the likelihood of traumatic brain injury by up to 50% when compared to typical synthetic turf over a stone base.
“Due to the amount of use our fields received, we wanted a synthetic turf system that could address safety concerns and play performance,” noted Jeff Elbracht, Director, Facilities & Finance, WSU Recreation. “With the help of consultant D. A. Hogan & Associates, our student committee selected Brock because of the safety it afforded intramural and sport club athletes.”
Under the leadership of D.A. Hogan & Associates, the project included renovation of over 450,000 square feet of natural turf fields to multi-purpose synthetic turf fields at two locations on campus, the Valley Road and Grimes Way playfields. Prior to installing synthetic turf, only intramural softball and football were able to use the two existing fields, which were separated by 22 feet of elevation change that made it difficult to move between the areas. Due to the location of the fields and the rain in Pullman, the athletic surfaces were typically unusable from November through March.
Valley Road Playfield Complex was designed to accommodate seven sports including softball, soccer, lacrosse (men’s and women’s), rugby, ultimate Frisbee and flag football. Tackling the challenge of previous field slopes that were very irregular and significantly steeper than those needed for playability, the grading design included development of two terraces for the fields, retaining walls, and extensive grading to provide a balanced site with respect to cut and fill operations. The existing site soils were stabilized with a combination of cement treatment and geotextile grid materials. Installing Brock PowerBase over the permeable aggregate base alleviated drainage problems while providing enhanced impact absorption and safety. In addition, Brock’s shock pad permitted the use of synthetic turf with a shorter pile height and less infill, which will result in cost savings when the surfacing is replaced.
“One of the criteria in the decision making matrix was that the intramural fields at Washington State University are built into unstable areas”, explained David Anderson, P.E., D.A. Hogan & Associates. “WSU liked the idea of the supplemental pad system since the previous field was a hard, packed surface. Brock allowed us to do adjustments to reestablish planarity and then put the base back down again.”
Research firm BioMechanica, LLC studied the estimated risk of head injury on synthetic turf surfaces with Brock underlayment and found the product reduces the likelihood of traumatic brain injury by up to 50%, provides the same G-Max and playability as a pristine natural grass field and mitigates field hardening over time. In evaluating Head Injury Criteria (HIC), also known as critical fall height, Sports Labs LLC found that Brock PowerBase offered significant improvement in HIC when compared to a turf field that featured a stone base.