Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Breaking: RMHS Field DOES NOT MEET REQUIREMENTS FOR PLAY! Concussion Risk On County Football Fields Confirmed

The Montgomery County Civic Federation, Inc.
For Immediate Release

Concussion Risk On County Football Fields Confirmed
Newly uncovered documents show school system knew synthetic turf fields were dangerous.

A June, 2016 independent testing report obtained by the Civic Federation earlier this month under the Maryland Public Information Act shows the synthetic turf field at Richard Montgomery High School failed to meet the minimum safety requirements set by FieldTurf - a manufacturer with contracts for all of the County's artificial turf fields.  The LDD Sports, LLC report verified the field:
"to be out of compliance and does not meet the requirements for play based on the specifications as referenced in ASTM F1936-10 with locations above the maximum allowable limit of 200."

This report appears to directly contradict earlier statements by Montgomery County Public Schools officials with regard to the safety of their synthetic turf fields.  The report also reveals that in at least one case - Richard Montgomery - the school system knew the field was dangerous, but still let the manufacturer's warranty expire.

With a G-MAX score of 253, Richard Montgomery now becomes the most unsafe field among MCPS synthetic turf fields with Walter Johnson a close second.  To put that in perspective, according to the Sports Turf Managers Association, a G-MAX score of 200 is qualified by OSHA as "Will Cause Death." G-MAX testing measures shock absorption and is therefore critical to the health and safety of children and adults using the field – the lower the number, the safer the student athlete.  Some professional sport teams limit the G-MAX scores to 120, and the NFL has set the maximum at 166.  WJHS tested as high as 194.5 just months ago due to its defective plastic carpeting - a disconcerting fact uncovered by the Civic Federation over the summer that garnered national media attention by Forbes Magazine and USA Today, as well as local television stations:

Made from plastics and pulverized used tires known as tire crumb rubber, these fields are failing to absorb impacts like a natural grass surface would.  Synthetic turf fields not only cost much more than natural grass turf, the tire crumb infill can accumulate dangerous pathogens and is known to contain twelve known human carcinogens.  Both the crumb rubber and plastic grass contain lead, as the FieldTurf Mid-Atlantic Sales representative had to admit under pressure from the House Ways and Means Committee in Annapolis earlier this year.

Synthetic turf problems are prompting lawsuits and early replacements at schools and universities around the nation, but in Montgomery County, it looks like MCPS allowed the Richard Montgomery field warranty to expire without challenge this August - after a July independent test by a different company, Athletic Field Consultants, Inc. showed that areas of the RMHS field G-MAX tested as high as 198.84.

The continued trickle of documents uncovered by the Civic Federation shows the school system's sole synthetic turf provider FieldTurf is having a hard time maintaining what appears to be the lowest standards in this loosely regulated industry, putting children's safety into question while MCPS looks the other way.

Members of the Civic Federation's Environment and Education Committees are crafting a resolution asking MCPS to explore all opportunities to join other educational institutions around the nation in legal action against FieldTurf, with proceeds used to purchase and maintain top-of-the-line natural grass fields that are safe and healthy for our children.

The Montgomery County Civic Federation's 880th general session will be held on November 14th, 7:45pm-9:45pm at the Lobby Level Auditorium of the Executive Office Building at 101 Monroe Street, Rockville, MD.

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 General sessions are open to the public.
For more information, contact MCCF Recording Secretary Danila Sheveiko at   
The mission of the Montgomery County Civic Federation is to preserve and improve the quality of life for all current and future residents of Montgomery County, Maryland.  Since its founding in 1925, the volunteers of the MCCF have committed themselves to providing an effective citizen voice to government policy makers, both elected and appointed.  [Read more here.]


  1. Shame on MCPS for allowing children to play and practice on this field when it clearly states that the field is out of compliance. They are not at all concerned for the safety of our kids.

    1. Business as usual for MCPS. Remember MCPS is the same school system that left known sexual abusers of children in classrooms for decades.

      MCPS and the Board of Education have no interest in keeping your children safe. They are running a business. They have already calculated to cost of injuries from these fields and decided that it is cheaper to let the players get hurt or die than to replace the defective fields. That is the business model.

    2. You just described the corporate culture of this nation.
      Sacrifice everything for the sake of profit.


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