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Players praise Aloha Stadium playing surface

by Kyle Galdeira, staff writer

The HPU baseball team played its recent series of home games at Aloha Stadium on a new synthetic playing surface, Field Turf, and both team and staff liked it.

Field Turf’s plastic “blades” are woven into a base composed of miniscule rubber particles mixed with sand that mirrors natural grass and dirt surfaces. The new turf was installed in summer 2003 in order to allow for the NFL Pro Bowl to continue being played in Hawai‘i.

NFL players had complained for years about the stadium’s original Astroturf, a synthetic plastic carpet supported by a layer of padding. Field Turf provides a level surface that allows for better cushioning and a realistic feel without the unevenness and occasional spottiness found in many natural grass fields.

“ I like it because you get a true hop every time,” said outfielder Tyler Ward. “You don’t have to worry about rocks or holes in the ground, and the grass is green all year round.”

Field Turf has also been touted as a safer playing surface then Astroturf. As the bottom layer of Astroturf’s padding wore down from use and the passage of time, the playing surface became less effective.

“ Every playing field should be converted to Field Turf because it’s so much better on the body,” said catcher and outfielder Greg Benoit, referring to the fact that Astroturf has been blamed for numerous injuries.

Players experienced leg injuries because the Astroturf tended to anchored athletes’ shoes in place. Hard pivots and quick movements often led to sprains or even torn ligaments. The rough carpet could also cause turf burn when in contact with skin, as when fielders dive for a ball. These burns frequently became infected.

“ Every year when teams played on Astroturf, I saw a lot of ankle and knee injuries,” said Athletic Trainer Jason Mitnick. “I haven’t had any complaints with Field Turf so far.”

HPU has 14 games remaining this season, all of which will be played on the Field Turf at Aloha Stadium. Kalamalama was being printed as the final home stand began April 10 when the Sea Warriors hosted Biola University in a five-game series.



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