Finneytown's new field offers lower temperatures, more safety to athletes

by Chris Renkel and Stephanie Kuzydym, WKRC | Thursday, September 3rd 2020

FINNEYTOWN, Ohio (WKRC) - The green light for fall sports means a little more to one local football team.

That's because this season they'll be playing on a field that lowers their risk of heat-related injury.

Before there were masks and social distancing, before there were temperature checks and bring-your-own-water jugs, the risks around Finneytown football and soccer were all on the field.

“We’d get torrential downpours and we’d have standing puddles of water,” Gerald Warmack said. Warmack is Finneytown’s athletic director and head football coach.

Finneytown was one of two school-owned fields in the Tri-State that still had grass.

The other was Harrison High which just opened a new artificial turf field last week. (

There are inherent risks when you play sports but there's one risk Gerald Warmack was happy with lowering: the temperature of the playing surface.

It's all thanks to a new popular infill for artificial turf fields called Zeolite.

Many artificial turf fields are made up of 50 percent rubber and 50 percent sand, meaning as the day heats up, so does the playing surface.

Finneytown's new field will be 33 percent rubber, 33 percent sand and 33 percent Zeolite.

Artificial turf fields can quickly get above 100 degrees during August practices.

Local 12 Investigates spoke with several area athletic trainers about how they gauge how hot the weather is for football players. They said they stand on the field with a wet bulb globe thermometer.

“It’s extremely hot, especially our end zones are black turf,” said Taylor athletic trainer Lauren White. “So that gets even hotter when it sits out in the sun.”

“I’d usually stand on the black because it’s going to be the hottest portion,” said Lakota East athletic trainer Kevin Stokes

Finneytown's new field will still get hot, but Warmack said the new field will not get as hot, which is safer.

“Last year we had a game we were supposed to play away on a turf field that we had to cancel because of the turf temperature,” he said.

The field should be about 10-20 degrees lower than another artificial turf field.

“It absorbs water from the atmosphere and slowly allows the turf to cool,” Warmack said.

Reading High still plays on a grass field, but that field is not owned by the school.

Keeping student-athletes healthy (video)

By: staff (click link to watch video)

Posted: Sep 1, 2020 / 06:44 PM EDT / Updated: Sep 1, 2020 / 06:44 PM EDT

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Along with injuries and staying fit, student athletes and their families also have to be cautious of the coronavirus.

Athletic Trainer Erin Cane with Kettering Health Network joined 2 NEWS Tuesday to discuss how kids are being kept safe as some sports seasons press on.