Greenplay and Brock improve player concussion safety

Greenplay Organics LLC, the manufacturer and distributor of Greenplay second-generation organic infill for synthetic turf, is proud to be collaborating on advancements to player safety with Brock International, the established industry leader in shock pads and concussion prevention technology for sports turf.

Greenplay is a proven blend of specially sourced coconut fibers and cork developed after a decade of success working exclusively with organic infills in the United States. Greenplay has been tested to meet or exceed the most rigorous performance, safety and environmental benchmarks while proving to be the most durable organic infill available. It is guaranteed to perform under warranty for as long as the synthetic turf. It is inherently the safest of all alternative infills because it is 100% natural and blended with pesticide free organic material. Greenplay contains no SBR crumb rubber, silica sand, plastics, chemicals or polymers and is completely recyclable at its end of life to be re-purposed on site as a dressing for natural grass or soil. Greenplay enhances a turf field to play like the best natural grass by enhancing foot stability with low energy restitution and vertical deformation. It makes the playing surface safer because it is essentially non-abrasive, pliable, absorbs impact forces and keeps the turf temperature on par with natural grass due to its high moisture retention, providing an evaporative effect as it releases the cool moisture. The lower field temperatures in conjunction with the inherent low bulk density of the material will result in prolonged turf fiber life. Greenplay naturally resists mold, rot and fungus due to naturally occurring tannins.

Brock PowerBase has been the industry’s leading shock pad and drainage layer used underneath synthetic turf fields for many years.  PowerBase has been proven to greatly reduce Head Injury Criterion (HIC) values and G-max of a synthetic turf surface system as compared to synthetic turf installed directly over a compacted stone base.  Research indicates that a reduction in HIC and Gmax values will reduce the risk and severity of a head injury. Brock now introduces its Gen II PowerBase Pro and PowerBase YSR, both certified Cradle to Cradle for environmental compatibility and with standard 25-year warranty. The Brock Gen II PowerBase beneath the turf will provide the field with a firm, consistent surface while also guaranteeing safety and stability.  Brock International is an Official Educational Partner of The Concussion Legacy Foundation, a Boston-based non-profit organization founded to advance the study, treatment, and prevention of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups. “Athletes tend to experience brain injuries in one of four impact areas – head-to-head, head-to-body, head-to-ball and head-to-surface. Brock has taken a leadership stance in trying to prevent concussions by focusing on the playing field itself,” noted Chris Nowinski, co-founder and executive director of the Sports Legacy Foundation. “We are excited to partner with an innovative company that shares our mission to protect athletes through education programs and raising awareness.” The Concussion Legacy Foundation has determined that at least 1 in 5 sports-related concussions are the result of a head impact with the playing field surface.  Unlike a helmet, cleat or shin guard, the field is the one common “equipment” used by all athletes.

Safety-Performance Turf System: Pristine natural turf grass is the benchmark for the safest, high-performance playing surface. Turf grass is firm and stable to run on, provides ideal traction and is highly resilient under bodily and head impacts.  Consequently, international performance and safety specifications for synthetic turf are modeled after values achieved on natural turf grass. Turf grass is not only the playing surface of choice of elite and amateur athletes alike, but as compared to traditional synthetic turf, has shown to produce exceptional results under impact tests to assess head injury risk.  Research by the University of Tennessee Center for Athletic Safety has established benchmark values for the most pristine natural sports turf; both Bermuda grass and Kentucky bluegrass USGA and ASTM sand/soil constructions, and native soil. Intensive testing and analysis has shown that the Greenplay / Brock combination can provide overall safety and performance comparable to the most pristine natural turf grass.

Protocol: All synthetic surface systems with Brock and Greenplay were tested utilizing a 2” slit film turf according to standard protocol over concrete in a temperature controlled laboratory environment.  The natural turf grass surfaces from the UTCAS study consist of pristine test plots at optimal turf density and sand/soil moisture content.  All surfaces were tested with the ASTM F355-E head form device.  The procedure consisted of 1 drop from increasing drop heights to plot HIC results and determine “Critical Fall Height”.  Critical Fall Height is defined as the point at which the impact from a drop produces a Head Injury Criterion value of 1,000.  Critical fall height results are expressed in meters, rounded down to the nearest 0.1m.  At HIC 1,000 there is a >0% risk of an AIS 5 (Critical) Head Injury. A “Critical” head injury is characterized as loss of consciousness, skull fracture, neurological damage, brain hemorrhage, with a >50% risk of a fatality.  This is obviously a threshold to be avoided as a result of a head impact with a playing surface. The International Rugby Board mandates a minimum Critical Fall Height of 1.3M to certify its playing surfaces.  Although this threshold is much lower than natural turf, it is currently the only reference standard for synthetic turf playing surfaces.  Additional impact tests of the surfaces were performed with the ASTM F355-A (“Gmax”) method and EN14809 (Vertical Deformation), a measurement of surface stiffness under the simulated impact of a running athlete.

Results: These comparisons have shown that in terms of head injury risk assessment, the composite synthetic turf field system of Brock Gen II PowerBase (25mm) and Greenplay organic infill perform within the range of pristine natural turf grass and in some cases produced superior results with lower HIC and Peak G (G-max) values.

G-max- Brock/Greenplay system was 80 G’s as compared to the 4 turf/soil systems ranging from 80 to 105

Critical Fall Height- Brock/Greenplay system was 2.0M as compared to the 4 turf/soil systems ranging from 1.9 to 2.3M

Vertical Deformation- Brock/Greenplay system was 8.5 as compared to the 4 turf/soil systems ranging from 8.5 to 9.7

Abrasive Index (ASTM F1015) – natural turfgrass and synthetic turf with Greenplay average 21 as compared to the synthetic turf industry range of 35 to over 50.

Brock & Greenplay are committed to the continued research and testing for the ultimate in player safety.

It is important to understand the extent to which safety and performance of turf fields can be improved with the latest technologies. A system of proven, safer components is critical to turf field design and can drastically reduce the incidence of injuries while vastly improving the performance characteristics to a level of pristine natural grass fields.