Playing on turf has reduced our injuries

To the Editor:
I moved to Guilderland because I wanted to be a member of a community that put the needs of a school district and its students first. My husband and I always envisioned living in a district where sports and extracurricular activities would provide opportunities for the community to come together.

In a world where we unfortunately don’t have much to celebrate lately, seeing students return to school, sports, and extracurricular activities has been a real positive while we continue to battle the pandemic.

We are 100 percent in support of the capital project for Guilderland School District. As a veteran coach and teacher of 25 years, I have seen so many athletic injuries caused by natural grass surfaces.

Since moving to a field turf based surface I am happy to announce that our injuries over the past five seasons have lowered significantly. Prior to playing on turf, we had seven injuries in one season due to the grass impacting the travel of the field hockey ball and lifting it up into our players.

Since moving to turf, we have had zero directional change of the ball caused by the surface. That statistic alone helps those not in the sports world understand how a consistent surface that is both flat and safe is critical in keeping our student athletes safe. Also, natural grass can become sogging wet and cause slips, falls, and wipeouts.

The turf is a very small portion of the capital project. We as a family look at the project as a whole and how it benefits all students. New playgrounds and outdoor teaching pavilions will be very useful as we continue to fight the pandemic. In addition, improvements to so many other areas throughout the district help both infrastructure and air quality and comfort.

When the world has forced us to be a “no” for so many things like family get-togethers, events, and even in-person learning at one point, my family encourages our community to be a yes for this project! Be a yes for Guilderland, be a yes for bringing our community together, and please be a yes for our students and kids!

Jennifer and Philip Sykes


Editor’s note: Jennifer Sykes is the Guilderland field hockey coach. Philip Sykes is head coach at the University at Albany field hockey program.

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