Replacing Natural Turf with Artificial Grass is Absurdity – Dr Ernest Hilaire
The debate and tough talk about removing natural grass over the substitute turf / artificial turf that has taken place at some of St. Lucia’s premier sports facilities on the outskirts continues. Recently, studies have shown that most athletes prefer to play on quality natural grass fields.
Dr. Ernest Hilaire speaks to the meeting on the march. (PHOTO: Anthony DE Beauville)
Castries South Parliamentary Representative Dr. Ernest Hilaire, during the Saint Lucia Labor Party’s protest march on Sunday 4th October 2020, spoke to THE VOICE not only about replacing natural grass with astro-turf / artificial turf, but also about the maintenance of playgrounds across the island .
Dr. Hilaire is the former Permanent Secretary for the Department of Youth and Sports and the former CEO of the West Indies Cricket Board of Control. He said that.
“I was the permanent secretary in the Department of Youth and Sports and during my time we built the National Stadium in Vieux Fort (George Odlum Stadium) and the Beausejour Cricket Ground (BCG) in Gros Islet, now the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (DSCG). . I am offended by what is happening now. I think we as a country could have done a lot better. The concept of replacing natural grass with artificial grass is absurd. I said that in Parliament and also in public. “
Dr. Hilaire: “Everyone who supported this plan was completely misunderstood. It can’t be for the best for St. Lucia, as is now being shown: they have a facility in Soufriere that doesn’t allow you to play cricket, and you can’t even host field events. “
He continued, “So how can you boast that you have a mini-stadium and you can’t have it (spear, arguing, and shot put)? Who could have believed this was for the best for St. Lucia. Soufriere had one of the best playing areas in St. Lucia, next to it is a river that can provide irrigation and replace with what they are doing and they will do the same in Micoud, which is absurd. “
Dr. Hilaire said, “Over $ 30 million to be spent on these facilities if they could have been so much better to improve some of the other playing fields, continue the program Shawn Edward started as Minister for Youth Development Sports “.
“Look under Shawn Edward how the playing fields have been maintained in this country and compare it to what we have now,” he said.
Interestingly, adviser Donald Lockerbie said in his August 2018 master plan for St. Lucia in a question-and-answer segment from the Department of Youth Development and Sports that they would have to pass judgment while playing cricket at the Soufriere Mini Stadium.
Lockerbie said, “We met with the Cricket Federation (President Julian Charles at the time) and the locals and we agreed that a new cricket venue would be built and we just got the Ruby Estate / Banana Plantation viewed several hundred meters from the mini stadium ”.
Lockerbie stated, “We also looked seriously at the old and now inoperable copra factory, particularly a very large bottom bracket that we believe would be a wonderful place to have a synthetic surface for indoor sports can also be created for entertainment ”.
The newly laid playing area in the Soufriere Mini Stadium (SMS). (PHOTO: Anthony DE Beauville)
According to Lockerbie at the time, this would give Soufriere, which we know is a major tourist destination, an indoor facility for international football, athletics and domestic league cricket.
Just last week, Micoud North’s parliamentary representative, Dr. Gale Rigobert, during her address at the start of the Dr. Gale Rigobert T10 cricket tournament: “With regard to the development of the physical infrastructure on the island, the Lockerbies will, among other things, continue the work they started before COVID-19, so that the experts in relation to the relocation of the Astro- Lawn and other aspects of the facility are here on the island. “
She said, “We have hired the roofing consultant who would have outsourced certain aspects of the broader consultation, and as I can tell from the on-site engineers at Micoud South, those I meet seem to be experts in installing Astro turf. “
The most notable and public disdain for artificial turf comes from the US women’s national soccer team. Shortly after their win at the 2015 World Cup, the team canceled a game at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii due to large cracks and holes in the field.
The 2022 Women’s World Cup will take place exclusively on natural grass. This was celebrated by many players and fans alike.
Their reluctance to compete on artificial turf was only heightened by a study recently published in the America Journal of Sports Medicine. According to the study, an athlete was three times more likely to suffer from a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) while playing on artificial turf.
The study was based on 10-year data on injuries in college football from the NCAA Injury Surveillance System, which collects information from Division I, II, and III sports programs.
This dataset included more than three million exposure times by athletes when an athlete was participating in a training session or game, and 2,460 knee injuries. This made it one of the most robust data samples that have ever been created for comparing natural grass with artificial grass.
The study not only focused on soccer, but also follows a number of other studies that support the reasons why athletes (in general) prefer natural grass.