Source: Brock International

Boulder, Colorado - (November 19, 2012) - In response to the growing concussion crisis in youth sports, Brock International has launched the first synthetic turf safety and drainage layer engineered specifically for young athletes - Brock PowerBase Youth Safety Research (YSR). It is the only product of its kind scaled to the ideal footing requirements and safety of high school and middle school athletes. The company's PowerBase technology, used underneath synthetic turf fields, has been proven to decrease G-max, which may reduce the risk and severity of concussion, and injuries with hips, elbows and knees from high impacts of the body on the surface.

Research by Boston University's Medical Center has shown that a young brain is more susceptible to injury until age 25. They have also proven that is does not take a concussive level impact to create a brain injury. With increased media attention about concussions, parental concerns continue to escalate. In an August 2012 "Outside the Lines" online public opinion survey conducted by ESPN Research and the Global Strategy Group, about 57 percent of parents said that recent stories about the increase in concussions in football have made them less likely to allow their sons to play in youth football leagues. While much focus has been placed on preventative measures with helmets and pads, the only piece of "equipment" shared by all sports that can protect athletes is the playing surface itself.

"Sports surfaces should be considered part of any good injury prevention program," explained Dan Sawyer, CEO of Brock International. "With their smaller size, still-developing brains and lower skill level, young athletes require different playing surface characteristics than collegiate or professional players. It is critical to have a field appropriate to the needs of this user group to keep them as safe as possible."

Brock turned to research firm BioMechanica, LLC and their experts in human-to-surface contact for guidance in applying their PowerBase technologies, used by some of the most high profile NCAA and NFL teams in the country, to the particular needs of youth sports surfacing. PowerBase YSR has been designed to address both head and body impacts to cover a broader range of potential injuries. Just as companies like Nike or Brooks scale footwear cushioning properties differently for a 150 pound athlete versus a 220 pound player, Brock has created a unique, specialized solution for synthetic turf fields at the high school, middle school and recreational parks level.

Head-to-surface injuries are one of the four major impact areas in which athletes experience brain injuries. In a study published in 2003 by Martyn Shorten PhD of Biomechanica, he noted, "It is reasonable to believe that a collision between the head and a surface has the same injury potential as a direct impact with any other object and the limited information available supports this assumption."

When Biomechanica studied the estimated risk of head injury on synthetic turf surfaces with Brock underlayment in 2008, they found the product reduces G-max, the peak force of impact, which the lab tests indicated should reduce the risk and severity of concussion; provides the same G-Max and playability as a pristine natural grass field and mitigates field hardening over time - all without changing the footing or stability during regular play. In evaluating Head Injury Criteria (HIC), also known as critical fall height, Sports Labs LLC found that Brock PowerBase offered significant improvement in HIC when compared to a turf field that featured a stone base.

"There is a level at which point the infill on a synthetic turf field simply maxes out, and the only thing left to absorb the energy of impacts is what lies below the turf," continued Sawyer. "If you have stone, then it won't absorb the excess energy, the body will. But if you have a shock layer underneath the field, the added impact absorption makes a huge difference in the safety of the athlete."

About Brock International Brock International is the leader in performance base systems for synthetic turf. With over 25 million square feet of Brock Performance Base in play underneath athletic fields worldwide, the company engineers the best, safest and most sustainable playing surfaces in the world for athletes at all levels. Brock is an Official Education Partner of The Sports Legacy Institute, a Boston-based non-profit organization founded to advance the study, treatment, and prevention of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups. In October 2011, Brock became the first company in the industry to have a Cradle to Cradle Certification CM for its combined drainage and shock pad product. Offering the only product in the market that can be closed loop recycled, Brock PowerBase is certified to the world's most stringent environmental standards. Visit www.brock-international.com to learn more.

Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.