Schools Get Anonymous Donation for New Fields

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

September 27, 2007

You may have heard grass is better and safer than artificial turf, but that's not necessarily true.

The typical artificial turf you may think of is actually astro turf. It's basically a layer of concrete with an artificial surface on top.

UVa team physician and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Eric Carson says, "the grip on it is fairly significant meaning that there can be an increased incidence of injuries so your foot gets kinda planted it gets stuck, you can twist the knee, twist the ankle and the incidence of injuries are probably a lot lot higher."

But, Albemarle County schools are looking at funding for synthetic fields.

"It's essentially a surface that has a little bit of give to it so the injuries go down, most of the athletes describe it as being very much like playing on natural grass itself," Dr. Carson says.

An anonymous donor gave around $400,000 to each of the four public high schools in the county, and the gift extends to Charlottesville High School too.

School Board Chair Sue Bell-Friedman says, "It's always very very impressive to know there are community members who care about the value of educational opportunities we offer our students as well as their extracurricular recreational opportunities."

Injuries may not be such a concern with the new fields, but there are other issues. They require maintenance and they are expensive. The donation does not cover the whole cost for each school.

At the board meeting Thursday night, the board will hear from the Parks and Recreation Department to learn more about synthetic fields.

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