Proper synthetic turf maintenance is critical to the health and well being of the athletes who play on it.
Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) and MRSA (a drug-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus) are bacterial infections contracted through abrasions and cuts. Staph has the ability to live for up to 90 days on surfaces. Although the Staph bacteria is present everywhere, certain events must take place for infection to result. Various sports activities played on artificial turf lend themselves to the “Five C’s” outlined by the Centers for Disease Control for transmission of Staph and MRSA to be easily transmitted.
The Center for Disease Control cites the Five C’s for easy transmission of MRSA and Staph:
- Frequent skin-to-skin Contact
- Compromised skin (i.e. cuts or abrasions)
- Contaminated items and surfaces; and
- Lack of Cleanliness
Artificial turf fields are now in use year-round. In addition to their regular use by high school athletic teams, synthetic turf fields are also used by children and adults, from junior leagues to adult leagues. Further, the soccer team that used to have their own field now may share a field with the football team. At any given time, a field could be used by football, soccer and lacrosse teams as well. On Saturdays, it might be used by Pop Warner football teams and different soccer leagues. If any free empty time exists on the field’s use schedule, it might be used by recreational teams. As you can see, overcrowding of artificial turf fields quickly becomes a major issue.
Every sport that is played on artificial turf involves some form of contact. Unfortunately, the more contact that takes place, the higher the degree of abrasions and cuts, and the more vulnerable the athlete becomes to infection.
Athletes can wear all the protective gear in the world, but they are still going to sustain cuts or abrasions. Turf burn is a very common injury resulting in skin damage. The damaged skin is vulnerable to infection when it comes in contact with the turf.
Bodily fluids from blood, mucus, saliva and sweat are very common on playing field surfaces. When multiple bodies use a given space, the surface absorbs these bodily fluids and their contaminants.
As mentioned above, many different foreign bodies come into contact with artificial turf. Natural grass has a big advantage over indoor fields, as it requires water to live. As a result, outdoor grass stays clean due to constant watering and frequent mowing.
Artificial turf is sold with promises of lower maintenance. No watering and no mowing may sound great, but these conveniences can create a potentially dangerous situation when it comes to managing the surface’s cleanliness.
Benefits of the GreenZapr
At Sports Turf Northwest, we combat contaminant buildup with the GreenZapr, the only technology available to eradicate harmful Staph and MRSA bacteria all the way down at the DNA. UVC radiation ensures that the bacteria can’t reproduce. In order to ensure the health and safety of athletes on synthetic turf playing fields, the GreenZapr is the responsible choice.
Artificial turf creates the perfect storm for exposure to Staph and MRSA, as its surface hosts a wide range of sports. As a result, it is imperative that turf sanitation is maintained to an exceptional degree. Sports Turf Northwest knows how important safety is to the parents of these athletes, and that’s why we are proud to offer GreenZapr as the primary method of antibacterial sanitation.
An additional benefit of the GreenZapr is its cost-effectiveness. Chemical applications are expensive and do not fully protect athletes since they do not kill MRSA; antimicrobial treatments are considered pesticides by the EPA. By using the GreenZapr, additional chemicals are added to the watershed.
Contact Sports Turf NW today for more information about how this remarkable technology can improve the health of your indoor fields.