The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

Testing the Turf

National Controversy sparks questions about artificial turf
Jalen+McFadden+%2812%29+plays+on+the+turf+at+Lynn+C.+Adams+Stadium+against+Okemos+on+Sept.+8
Photo by Tianna Tran
Jalen McFadden (12) plays on the turf at Lynn C. Adams Stadium against Okemos on Sept. 8

When I started this article I was fully expecting to tell you that I believed that turf was a bad thing for high school sports and that they are a waste of contractor’s time and school district’s money. However, there are a number of factors that have changed my opinion entirely.
The Aaron Rodgers injury was a major factor in my original opinion, and change of opinion. Originally I was concerned about the idea that something like this could come to pass here in East Lansing or in a high school game generally. However, I found out that a lot of these injuries happened because of players being old or simply striking the field wrong.
After doing research, I think that turf fields are a positive for our high school, and the pros outweigh the cons.
Turf fields are something that have measured risks very similar to how playing a sport has its risks. Playing on turf is often easier because it is the exact same as the field someone has been practicing on. The fact that many sports rather than just football are able to use turf fields is a major plus for athletic departments all across the state. Now that we have turf as of last year, we are now able to host CAAC events as well MHSAA neutral site games.
The question that came to my mind was has this become such a hot button issue at the professional level in football and soccer. In football it has been a hot topic due to the concept that people may have issues with ACL tears caused by snagging cleats on filaments, which is a very minor issue that the sports press has made one of the hottest topics in professional sports. Next is the concern of cancers in soccer. Around 10 years ago ,there was some research that goalies had been developing lymphomas due to the infill of turf being made of recycled tires. However, this is something that has lots of conflicting research and much of the research leaning towards the turf being safe in both the realm of tendon injuries and cancers.

Cross Section of the Field at Dewitt high school (courtesy photo)

Students have been very happy with the turf so far. Marching band drum major Sarah Bollman (12) said how much easier performing is due to the smoothness of the surface compared to grass.
This opinion was shared with football captain Charlie Baker (12). He said that the lack of divots that are common in grass fields make it easier to play on.
Baker and Bollman are both common users of the field surface however Bollman raised a concern that many may not think of due to most use happening at night
“It does get really hot,” Bollman said. “We like to say that the turf is 10 degrees hotter than it actually is outside.”
Athletic Directors are another group of people who are fans of artificial turf because of its multipurpose use. East Lansing athletic director Nikki Norris arrived in East Lansing to a field with a drainage problem that could really only be used once a week. Norris remembered a game that, due to COVID-19 postponement, had to be played on Jan. 9 after the frozen ground began to melt when the temperature rose above 40 degrees after weeks below freezing.
“It got real sloppy and teams from both sides were slipping more,” Norris said. “Whereas with a turf field, it’s going to be consistently dry.”
Dewitt athletic director Michael Brya is looking after a brand new turf after it was installed this year. Dewitt puts a lot of time and money into their sports programs and eventually the grass became something of a liability due to its limited use cases
“From a usability standpoint, having turf for a high school is a gamechanger,” Brya said.
I think that for a high school, the usability and multipurpose use of artificial turf is a complete positive and school districts should be looking to artificial turf as a long-term solution to the issues that grass can have.

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About the Contributor
Joseph Powers, Staff Writer
Joseph Powers is a member of the Class of 2024 and one of the staff writers for Portrait. This is his second year on staff as a senior. Joseph’s favorite thing about journalism is crossword puzzles, he does the Wall Street Journal every day he remembers to. In what free time he has he spends it thinking of public policy and some other stuff.

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