April 17, 2019
Nearly 20% of head injuries are head to surface impacts, this field renovation project will help minimize serious head injuries to County youth.
Renovation will resurface and convert natural grass sport fields to a hybrid bermudagrass more suitable for high use sports fields that will be safer and a better playing surface for County’s recreational users
Project will create safer sports fields, provide significant economic impacts and benefits to the County residents.
On April 3, 2019, the Board of County Commissioners for Hillsborough County, Florida, awarded a four-year contract to World Sports Turf & Marketing, LLC, in the amount of $9,286,942.00, for installation and maintenance of athletic turf at various fields throughout the County of Hillsborough on behalf of the Parks and Recreation Department. The goal is to renovate almost all of the County’s non-bermudagrass sports fields in order to create safer and better playing surfaces for the County’s residents.
World Sports will remove existing bahiagrass surfaces from those parks identified by the County, regrade and laser-level the playing surfaces and then replace the grass with a high-quality hybrid bermudagrass. “As a resident of the County of Hillsborough and father of two children who use the County of Hillsborough sports fields regularly, I’m excited for the County residents, who will have access to renovated sports fields that will be safer and more durable” said Renato Luis Lauretti, Vice President World Sports. Mr. Lauretti also said the “The County will receive the same expertise World Sports brought to the 2014 World Cup Games in Brazil, the Rio Olympics, and professional stadiums.” Upon completion of each field renovation, the sports field will be turned over to the County for continuing maintenance by the County and its contractors.
Michael Newcomb, the COO of World Sports “anticipates hiring an additional three to four crews as a result of this contract and employing an additional 10 to 15 County residents. World Sports will also purchase millions of dollars of bermudagrass sod and sprigs from local Hillsborough County sod farms, driving these dollars back into the community.”
In addition to local economic impacts directly related to the four-year renovation project, local teams and leagues stand to benefit from safer and more desirable fields. According to Michael Newcomb “These renovated sports fields will help the local sports leagues in hosting successful tournaments, that will bring additional economic impacts to the County, as well as, provide safer fields for practices and games.”
The CEO of World Sports, Roberto Gomide praised the County stating that “World Sports strongly believes a well-maintained sports field is a safe sports field. With 1 in 5 head injuries a result of head to surface impacts, Hillsborough County and the Parks and Recreation Department should be commended in taking this important step towards providing the residents with safe sports fields.”
Renato Laurreti states that “concussions due to head to surface contact can be particularly devastating because sports fields that lack proper grass density and decompaction maintenance don’t have the same shock absorption abilities that well-maintained sports fields have.” “This is something we know at the professional level, but is only now being addressed by municipalities and school districts.”
According to Roberto Gomide “The problem is especially acute with synthetic fields that are not maintained properly but can also seen with poorly maintained natural grass fields. The County’s renovation project will address the safety aspect by decompacting the fields and planting hybrid bermudagrass varieties that can withstand higher traffic and tend to form denser turf when maintained properly.”
About Sports Field related Concussions / Injuries
“In a study of a nationally representative high school population, 21.5% of concussions across multiple sports occurred as a result of contact with the playing surface. 15.5% of concussions were the result of primary head to surface contact, and an additional 6% were caused by secondary head to turf contact after a player to player impact. The CDC estimates that between 1.6 and 3.8 million concussions occur in sports and recreation every year. Therefore, contact with the playing surface may account for between 350,000 and 817,000 concussions per year in the United States.” Synthetic Turf White Paper, Concussion Legacy Foundation. Note, concussion studies were not limited to synthetic surfaces.
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