The Pearl High School Pirates first home football game will not only be the unveiling of new Brock products to the town, but to all of Mississippi. A few other high schools in Mississippi have installed Brock ShockPad/SERIES, but Pearl will be the first to have Brock PowerBase/YSR and the first to install BrockFILL. This system solves a lot of issues schools and organizations may be facing. Of course concussions and impact injuries are always top of mind, but heat and severe weather were also taken into consideration
Water management has been an issue for years when it comes in artificial turf fields, especially in places like Mississippi where it rains substantially. Artificial turf sports field face two main issues in regards to water. The first being improper drainage where water accumulates on the field and forms puddles, leaving the surface waterlogged and unplayable until the water can be removed from the field. The second issue being the migration of infill, as water accumulates on the surface it carries the infill and places it unevenly on the field, or washes it away completely.
“We get a lot of rain down here and when it rains, it rains heavy. One of my concerns was that the wood infill was just going to wash out like everything else,” said Principal Field Architect, Jamie Wier. “ When I learned that BrockFILL was designed to absorb the water and sink, I thought, ‘I’m sold, I am ready to try this.’ This weekend we received 5 inches of rain. Most fields filled with other products suffer with infill migration with this amount of rain.”
Superintendent of Pearl Public school district, Ray Morgigno, Ph.D., also commented on migration of infills during water weather events.
“We had a pretty good rain yesterday morning and I was actually out at the field last night with the architect and it [BrockFILL] had not moved at all,” said Morgigno. "We were thinking it would all move to the edges but it didn’t, it just weighted down, so that was exciting to see.”
BrockFILL helps solve the infill migration issue, but what about the waterlogging of the field and drainage? This is where Brock PowerBase/YSR comes in. The PowerBase/YSR shock pad system is designed to drain water faster than the turf, so there should be no big buildup of water above the pads, as soon as the water seeps through the artificial turf carpet, it will drain right through the Brock Pads too.
Even with many new fields being installed nationwide this summer, BrockFILL is still a new product and making its way into mainstream infill use. Organizations like Pearl High School and the Wier, Boerner, and Allin architecture firm are jumping on the product at a good time, attempting to be trend setters for the rest of the industry.
“One of the keys to our growth is staying on the cutting edge of building technology and systems, especially when it comes to sports athletic facilities,” said Wier. “We are always looking opportunities to put our clients ahead of the curve. Our success is their success.”
Mississippi, along with getting a lot of rainfall, can get extremely hot. The heat itself is not unbearable, but when it is coupled with an artificial turf field featuring crumb rubber, the temperatures can become dangerously hot.
“The heat was probably one of the leading reasons why we chose Brock fill from the beginning,” said Pearl High Schools Head Football Coach, John Perry. “The field gets so hot in the summertime. The old field with the crumb rubber would get so hot, we had a summer camp here and were worried about the kids burning their feet.”
Beating the heat has been a hot-button issue for the artificial turf industry for years, but as the average world temperature rises it's becoming even more critical for the industry to adapt and evolve. This has spurred a release of many crumb-rubber infill alternatives onto the market, but designers are still looking for the option that checks all the boxes in regards to performance, durability, and safety.
“Being in the south, one of the things we really struggle with is heat. Until now, all of the infill products that we have used have not performed like we had hoped. We have been disappointed and our clients have been disappointed. Again, looking for that edge in the marketplace for our clients, when I saw the Brock infill product, I thought to myself, 'oh man, this is it'. From heat, abrasion, impact, safety, and infill stability, Brock has introduced a system that addresses all of our issues.”– Principal Field Architect, Jamie Wier - Wier, Boerner, and Allin architecture
BrockFILL, being made of wood, naturally doesn’t retain heat remotely close to what crumb rubber does and in fact, will absorb moisture from the air and retain rainwater to actually cool the field once the sun begins to beat down upon the turf.
Keeping their athletes safe from the heat isn't the only concern when it comes to safety. Another top priority is creating a firm forgiving surface for the athletes. With 1-in-5 concussions happening for a player's head hitting the turf, it's a major issue when designing these systems.
“One of the big selling points was the reduction in concussions,” said Morgigno. “Especially looking at the research on G-MAX and HIC and learning that the pad not only decreased your chance for concussions, but also for lower extremity injuries due to the stiffness of the pad.”
Architect Jamie Wier added, “He [Coach Perry] was having too many athletes suffering from turf related injuries. The Pearl Pirate Football team were the 2017 state champions. They are a fast and powerful team and they want the Championship again....they are hungry for it. Staying healthy is key for that. The last thing we need is our fields beating us up too.”
Coach Perry and Superintendent Morgigno both feel the community is excited to see the new field once football season kicks off. The field has only just wrapped up with all the finishing touches after the BrockFILL installation, but the few people who have set foot on the surface seem to be impressed.
“I think they are going to love it, we designed it a little bit differently and I think everybody who has seen it absolutely loved it,” said Perry. “I think our school board and our superintendent put the best product out there that was the safest for our kids. That's one thing our school district has always tried to do, if you are going to do something, do it right, and I think we did it right.”
The Pearl High School varsity football team will begin a new season at the end of August, looking to improve on last season's 8-5 record and get back to their 2017 winning ways where they sported a perfect 16-0 record with a state championship to cap it off. Pearl’s first home game of the season will be played on August 30th against Warren Central High School and will be the official unveiling of their new synthetic turf field.