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Windsor's King's-Edgehill School invests in concussion-reducing artificial turf

Headmaster Joe Seagram shows off the resilient new turf that's been installed at King's-Edgehill School while Grade 12 students, from left, Téa Racozzi, Nick Cheveie, and Lindsay Hogan, playfully do the same. The students say they're appreciative of the new, top-notch field conditions.
Headmaster Joe Seagram shows off the resilient new turf that's been installed at King's-Edgehill School while Grade 12 students, from left, Téa Racozzi, Nick Cheveie, and Lindsay Hogan, playfully do the same. The students say they're appreciative of the new, top-notch field conditions. — Carole Morris-Underhill

WINDSOR, N.S.  — A private school in Windsor is investing in the health and safety of its student athletes.

King’s-Edgehill School recently opened its revamped Jakeman Field — something both staff and students are excited about.

“It’ll be a game changer for the school — not just for now but for decades to come,” said Joe Seagram, the school’s headmaster.

King’s-Edgehill began the initial legwork on upgrading Jakeman Field, which is adjacent to the Ted Canavan Athletic Centre, about two years ago. They had a vision to install artificial turf, LED lights and a rubberized track around the outside of the pitch.

The project carries a price tag of about $3 million, and it is nearing completion.

This is an aerial image of the newly-revamped Jakeman Field. The outside track, which has been named after long-time track and field coach Guy Payne, will be completed next summer and will be royal blue in colour to match King's-Edgehill School's colours. - Contributed
This is an aerial image of the newly-revamped Jakeman Field. The outside track, which has been named after long-time track and field coach Guy Payne, will be completed next summer and will be royal blue in colour to match King's-Edgehill School's colours. - Contributed

The school has installed the specialized artificial turf field that not only absorbs shocks, but is FIFA and World Rugby certified. The energy-efficient lights will be available soon, and the track will be finished next summer, though it is usable in its current state.

“This is Revolution 360 made by FieldTurf; it is the top product in the world. It’s the same stuff that our national rugby team just put into their facility in B.C.; it’s the same stuff that the New England Patriots put into Gillette Stadium,” said Seagram.

The field offers students a safe and secure way to hone their skills and puts them in a better spot to be able to compete at a higher level.

“This specific shock padding is unique to this field. It’s the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada,” said Seagram.

Nick Cheverie, a Grade 12 Division 1 soccer player, noticed the difference as soon as he stepped onto the turf.

“I find the ball runs so much smoother across the field; you feel safer running on it; it’s softer. You can tell that it’s brand new; you can tell it’s of the best quality,” said Cheverie.

“If you fall, you’re less likely to get a concussion from it. Because of the concussion padding, it has a bit of a bounce to it... I think it’s not as hard on joints,” said Cheverie.

Seagram said they see the investment in the new turf as an investment in the school’s young athletes.

“We’re talking about safety. There’s no question — you cannot compromise on student safety. Stats will show, it’s not just a matter of head injuries. It’s ankles and knees and any kind of impact injury,” said Seagram, noting the field should lessen the risk of being injured.

“At the same time, you have a consistent grip underneath. You don’t need special cleats; you don’t need special equipment to play. You’re not going to lose a ton of skin on this turf.”

The turf’s quality and size puts KES on the map to host future national and international games.

For students, they’re excited to test it out — and have been using it for a wide variety of sports since the school year started.

“It’s pretty cool to be in... one of the first classes to ever get to play on that,” said Téa Racozzi, a

division 1 soccer player.

Racozzi said they will also play on the natural grass fields at the school, which will allow them to be prepared for any game conditions.

“It’s cool that we have both so we’re ready for any kind of game we’re going to play,” she said.

The school also upgraded Herman Field, which is now regulation rugby size.

“Our hope is that we will be a destination for rugby in the province as well,” said Seagram.

Herman Field features “gorgeous natural grass” and, with it being the proper size, it allows the school to host more matches.

“So they have world rugby certified artificial turf and world rugby accredited natural turf for them to play on,” said Seagram.

Over the summer, that field was both widened and lengthened.

“Most pitches in Canada, let alone Atlantic Canada, aren’t the regulation length or width. We brought it up to standard and got it level as well, which is very, very important,” said Seagram.

King's-Edgehill student athletes Téa Racozzi, Lindsay Hogan and Nick Cheveie join headmaster Joe Seagram on the new field Oct. 3 for a photo. The artificial turf uses special shock absorbency technology to help reduce injuries, like concussions. — Carole Morris-Underhill
King's-Edgehill student athletes Téa Racozzi, Lindsay Hogan and Nick Cheveie join headmaster Joe Seagram on the new field Oct. 3 for a photo. The artificial turf uses special shock absorbency technology to help reduce injuries, like concussions. — Carole Morris-Underhill

A bonus for track and field athletes

Surrounding the artificial turf is a track that has runners beaming.

Grade 12 student Lindsay Hogan was among the first students to take a run on the track. She said it’s exceptional. Hogan said they used to travel about once a week to Acadia as part of their cross-country training but the new track eliminates that need to travel. She said it’s likely going to mean more students will want to enroll at KES.

“In terms of cross-country and track, people already come to King’s for running — maybe they play another sport but they came for running,” said Hogan.

“Now that we have the track, I think it’s going to open it up for more runners to come, internationally and locally,” she said. “I think it’s going to be really good for King’s.”

The track is the main component of the project that still needs to be finished.

“The track right now is crusher dust and it needs a winter to freeze and thaw,” said Seagram. “Then we (will) pave it and rubberize it over the summer. That will bring it up to IAF standards.”

Meaning, the track will be another big draw for KES.

“It’ll have eight lanes and it will be blue with red transition zones for the 4x100. It will be absolutely stunning,” said Seagram.

The track has been named the Track of Payne — which is aptly named to honour King’s-Edgehill’s long-time coach Guy Payne.

“He’s just a legend in track circles in Atlantic Canada,” said Seagram.

“There wouldn’t be a coach or track official in Atlantic Canada that wouldn’t know Guy. We’re thrilled to be able to do this, to be able to construct it and be able to remember his contribution — not just to track and field and fitness here at the school but throughout Nova Scotia.”

Guy Payne, who has been a staple at King's-Edgehill School, stands alongside the track during a cross-country race Oct. 3. The track is named Track of Payne to honour the long-time coach. — Contributed
Guy Payne, who has been a staple at King's-Edgehill School, stands alongside the track during a cross-country race Oct. 3. The track is named Track of Payne to honour the long-time coach. — Contributed

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