This article appeared in the April issue of Athletic Business. Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.
One of the points of distinction that I like to bring up when I talk about Athletic Business is the diverse makeup of our audience — from high school and college athletics administrators to professional stadium operators, private health club owners and public recreation directors. They serve everyone from the elite athlete to the deconditioned exerciser, U-6 soccer leagues to active-aging baby boomers. Their resources range from the shoestring budget to the donor-driven multimillion war chest.
It was out of the common goals and challenges facing these various groups that Athletic Business magazine was founded in 1977, with then-publisher Fenton Kelsey Jr. citing issues such as "the advent of equal women's athletics, the growth of physical education and intramural athletic activities, and the increasing cost of equipment and facilities with the continuous demand for lifetime sports."
Since that time, AB has been a guide for an evolving industry, helping readers navigate these issues as well as many more that have arisen along the way, such as ADA compliance and inclusive design, gender neutrality, athlete specialization and student-athlete compensation, to name a few.
The big issue in the spotlight right now, both nationally and in the upcoming April edition of Athletic Business (Turf Industry Bolsters Defense of Crumb Rubber Safety), is the question of safety of the crumb rubber used in synthetic turf athletic fields. Both the synthetic turf and recycled rubber industries have gone to great lengths to assuage public fears about this particular infill variety's safety, all the while welcoming new and more comprehensive research to solidify their position that infill synthetic turf poses no elevated health risks to athletes.
As of this writing, there are two new major studies under way in California and nationally looking to answer any remaining questions and concerns. Years in development, the results no doubt will inform two separate but connected industries — synthetic turf manufacturing and rubber recycling — as well as thousands of athletic and recreation organizations with synthetic turf fields in use in every corner of the United States.
We, too, eagerly await these and future findings.
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Letter from the editor"