Precaution signs to be placed on Concord playing fields

The Concord (MA) School Committee expressed support for warning signs at all playing fields in town.

The “field precautions” signs developed by the Concord Board of Health (BOH) include four points that School Committee member Dan Conti called “sensible” during the committee meeting on March 8.

The points include: Be aware that on hot days the temperature may be higher on synthetic turf fields than on natural turf. On hot days on all fields, use caution, take frequent breaks, and increase hydration; After playing on field, wash hands and face before eating or drinking; Minimize potential for skin abrasions by wearing appropriate protective equipment and treat abrasions promptly to prevent potential infection; At end of play on synthetic turf fields, dust clothes and clean or remove shoes to avoid tracking crumb rubber off the field.

The BOH indicated that the language on the signs is a final draft, and asked the committee for feedback before the next BOH meeting on March 15. The board recommends the signs appear at all fields in town, including the synthetic turf fields at Concord-Carlisle High School.

According to the BOH, Town Manager Chris Whelan has approved the language for the signs.

School committee members Kathi Snook and Johanna Boynton have said that the signs should be placed on all fields or none after the BOH announced last year that it was considering putting the signs only at artificial turf fields, after some residents expressed concerns that the crumb rubber infill may be linked to dangerous health consequences.

“I wouldn’t have supported turf fields being built if there was a health hazard being on them, or playing on them,” Snook said during a regional school committee meeting on Nov. 24.

Boynton called the final draft language for the signs “reasonable” during the March 8 meeting, and Snook said she would forward the committee’s feedback to the Susan Rask, Concord’s public health director.- By Henry Schwan