"Our kids will suffer injuries," said most. "It's

By Don Dreger Record-Courier assistant sports edit Published:

"Our kids will suffer injuries," said most. "It's too hard. It's too hot."

Just a few of the many comments.

History has shown us that the only thing positive about artificial turf is the maintenance and its ability to be played on in inclement weather.

However, Turf USA made a strong sales pitch to the Ravenna Board of Education. It convinced the members that their product _ FieldTurf _ had positive answers to all these questions. It is the first installation in Ohio. Nationally, Nebraska will open its college season with FieldTurf.

The original artificial turf is nothing more than a carpet laid over asphalt and a sponge pad for softness. The first few years it is tolerable before the sponge begins to break down and the surface becomes extremely hard. Cold weather causes the field to freeze and rain makes the surface slippery.

Also, many injuries occur because the fibers grip the shoes of the athletes, allowing little slippage, and putting extra strain on the various ligaments of the athletes. Not an ideal situation.

However, FieldTurf has put an altogether new type of product on the market that is suitable to both football and soccer. Lacrosse and field hockey can also be played on the field.

First, the field has a base of porous stone aggregate consisting of large base stone and a porous choking finish aggregate material (no asphalt). No drains were installed under the playing field but only on the perimeter (sidelines). There is less than one percent slope (one inch drop per 10 feet) from the middle of the field for run off (normal sod fields have up to 3 percent drop).

Since the carpet itself consists of a 2 1/2 -inch polyethylene blended (UV resistant) fiber with a porous backing, the water will drain vertically to the sub base where it will run away from the field.

To make the field appear and feel as normal sod, a resilient infill system, consisting of a special formulated mixture of sand, ground rubber and inert materials (over 500 tons) was laid on the carpet and worked into the surface until only 1/2 -inch of fiber is showing. Turf USA claims it has the look, feel and safety of regular sod.

The line markings are white fibers. The field came in five-yard widths and was sown together. All other markings are painted on.

The field is open to the public on Thursday night from 7-9 p.m. The home opener is scheduled for Friday against non-league rival Southeast at 7:30 p.m.

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