Safety is a primary concern for any athlete playing a sport. Just like athletes take measures to protect themselves with helmets, padding, eye protection or mouth guards, it’s equally as important to create a safe playing surface.

A legal athletic field must adhere to a wide range of standards and specifications. One of those standards that ensures a safe experience for athletes is through GMAX testing.

What is GMAX and why does it matter to you?

GMAX is a unit of measurement that quantifies the hardness of a surface. The higher the GMAX of a playing surface, the harder, and more dangerous, it is.

For example, GMAX of 200 or over is considered to be dangerous for athletes. In fact, industry standards specify that synthetic turf fields should stay at, or below, a GMAX of 165.

The hardness of an athletic field is crucial to safety. Over 10 percent of concussions sustained during athletic competition are caused by contact between an athlete’s head and the playing surface. When you maintain a field with a high GMAX score, it increases the likelihood of concussions.

Due to normal wear and tear on a synthetic turf field, the GMAX score of a playing surface is going to rise with time. That means, if you manage a facility with a synthetic turf playing surface, it’s important to keep an eye on the rising GMAX score so you don’t allow it to reach dangerous levels.

How to address a field with a high GMAX

If competent professionals installed your new synthetic turf field, you’re going to enjoy the right GMAX levels for the first few years. However, when that GMAX score rises, it’s time to take action.

Businesses that specialize in installing and maintaining synthetic turf playing surfaces, like our team at Keystone Sports Construction, have different options when it comes to lowering your GMAX score.

One way is to simply replenish the rubber infill of the turf. The existing infill wears out and hardens over time, which is why the field begins to experience increasing GMAX.

However, not everyone is a big fan of adding more rubber infill, as it can affect an athlete’s footing while they compete. You can also add an underlying shock pad that achieves a similar result as the rubber infill without hurting traction on the field.

Play it safe when it comes to GMAX

Synthetic turf playing fields come with a variety of advantages. While they provide a relatively low-maintenance experience for property managers, it is important to monitor the conditions of the field for the safety of athletes.