The new synthetic turf field at Byrd Stadium not only will be cooler than traditional all-rubber fields, but its state-of-the-art materials also are expected to help reduce the risk of head trauma and other injuries, according to Neil O’Donnell, a represtative for FieldTurf and former quarterback at Maryland.
O’Donnell was at media day to explain the benefits of FieldTurf, which Maryland installed in June as part of $3 million project. FieldTurf is used in many NFL stadiums.
“You look at everything in the NFL now, and it is all about concussions,” said O’Donnell, who played professionally for 13 seasons for four teams. “We come in once a year, and we test these field from all different areas. It’s almost like you’re dropping a helmet down on certain areas just to see how soft or how hard it is.”
O’Donnell, who played at Maryland from 1985 to ’89, said synthetic turf will be more consistent throughout the playing surface than natural grass, which can clump and muddy in inclement weather.
There will be no worn areas at midfield, for instance, or by the goal lines, and the drainage system is such that the surface will be playable within approximately 20 minutes of even the most punishing storm.
With no more need for re-sodding, the school figures to save money on maintenance, and the field also could serve as a useful recruiting tool with high school state championships at Byrd Stadium.
“It’s a fast track, but it’s also soft enough that it won’t hurt the athletes when their heads hit the ground in lacrosse and in football,” O’Donnell said.