COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland on Wednesday formally announced plans for and unveiled renderings of the new FieldTurf Revolution surface that will be installed at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. The privately funded project will result in the “coolest” synthetic turf field in the nation and will be completed in time for the 2012 football season which begins on Sept. 1.
In order to enhance playability for all sports expected to use the facility, and after various tests and discussions, it was decided the playing surface will be a traditional green in color. The end zones for football will have a design reminiscent of the Maryland state flag and reinforcing the “Maryland Pride” theme of Maryland Athletics.
The project at Maryland is the first of its kind in the United States and will feature exclusive new heat-reducing technology – CoolPlay – which, coupled with the patented silica sand and cryogenic rubber infill, will provide the facility with the “coolest” infill technology. FieldTurf has done extensive temperature testing which shows that CoolPlay infill provides for a difference of up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit versus traditional rubber infill systems.
The new field is yet another positive step for Maryland Athletics, and the football and men’s lacrosse programs in particular. The many benefits of the new field include protecting the health of the student-athletes, improved playability in inclement weather, annual savings on field maintenance, a fantastic recruiting tool and tremendous revenue-generating opportunities through events such as concerts, high school games and other outside athletic events.
“This project is vitally important to our University,” said Kevin Anderson, director of athletics at the University of Maryland. “The new playing surface at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium will improve student-athlete safety through this innovative FieldTurf technology, help us with recruiting and the overall brand enhancement of our athletics program, and it improves our ability to attract outside events to our campus, generating revenue and improving the on-campus lives of our students and our community.”
Maryland head football coach Randy Edsall added, “This is an exciting time for our program. We have had a great off-season with recruiting and with our players working very hard in preparation for the upcoming season. The addition of this new field will excite our entire student body and will be invaluable when it comes to recruiting in the future.”
Maryland men’s lacrosse head coach John Tillman said, “Having a field that is safer for our student-athletes and plays so much cooler is very important. The fact that it will look terrific and be a great asset to Coach Edsall and I when we are recruiting makes it that much better. I am excited not only for our student-athletes but for everyone associated with the University of Maryland.”
More than 70 NCAA Division I teams play and/or practice on FieldTurf, as do 22 of the 32 NFL teams. Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium becomes the 50th NCAA Bowl Championship Series football stadium to install FieldTurf, but the first to feature the FieldTurf Revolution with CoolPlay infill.
A recent five-year college football safety study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that FieldTurf is safer than natural grass. The study, led by Dr. Michael C. Meyers of the Department of Health and Human Development at Montana State University, evaluated 786 college football games for injuries sustained while playing on FieldTurf or natural grass.
With roughly 50 percent of these games being played on each surface, a total of 4,041 injuries were documented – 1,164 occurred on FieldTurf vs. 2,377 on natural grass. The study also indicated that less injury-related trauma occurs on FieldTurf when comparing injury time loss, injury category and other variable situations.
In the study Dr. Meyers stated, “In the past, serious injuries were attributed to playing on artificial turf. New generations of artificial turf were developed to duplicate the playing characteristics of natural grass. Only one study has been published comparing game-related, college football trauma between the two playing surfaces. My findings indicated that FieldTurf is in fact safer, in many cases, to natural grass.”
In another move that will proactively increase student-athlete safety, the University of Maryland has selected Brock International to provide the sophisticated shock pad and drainage layer that will be installed underneath the synthetic playing surface. Brock Powerbase, the only product in the synthetic turf industry to receive Cradle to Cradle certification, has been tested and shown to reduce the likelihood of traumatic brain injury by up to 50 percent in a study conducted by BioMechanica, LLC.
Since opening in 1950, Byrd Stadium has gone through a number of improvements. Most recently, a major renovation was completed in 2009, including a change of the facility’s name to Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. Following the new field installation, Byrd Stadium will be one of the top facilities in the country.
A ceremony to unveil the field will take place in August.