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Students in Eastern Brunswick ask district to fix football turf

BRUNSWICK EAST, NJ – Student-athletes and residents alike expressed concern over the poor condition of the Brunswick Eastern School District football field at the Board of Education meeting last week.

Chris Smalley, a senior football player, said he wanted to come to the meeting to express “extreme disappointment with the turf at the stadium”. He said the stadium was “beyond its useful life” before the two tropical storms – Ida and Henri damaged it further.

“Anyone who has ever set foot on the field has said it is in terrible shape. Athletes, even from other schools, have commented during games on how the field is in terrible condition,” said Smalley. .

Smalley said that although the Brunswick East School District website says it focuses on academics, sports and the arts, the turf condition is “embarrassing” and does not reflect the community well. .

“I speak on behalf of all the athletes and fans – the return to normalcy we expected once again did not happen due to our poor planning. Our hopes of ending our athletic careers in high school on our own land have been ripped off. This should have been our year to shine coming back from COVID, but instead we have no land, “Smalley said.

Drew Morrison, a resident, spoke after Smalley and said that while walking around the stadium recently he noticed parts where the grass was missing. “You can see going across the pitch, everywhere, just the uneven wear on the pitch. It’s not sure either,” Morrison.

He said as he walked the 10-meter line he heard a crackle, much like leaves in autumn. “The good news is we dodged a bullet. I’ve never heard of anyone seriously injured playing on a pitch in conditions like this,” said Morrison.

The resident said the council was projecting a bad attitude about athletics, the athletes and their families. “You extended an eight to ten lifespan on a field to 15 years, without considering the safety and mitigation plan. You should have anticipated, budgeted and had a plan in place as soon as it happened. product.”

Responding to the concerns of student-athletes and their families, Superintendent Victor Valeski said the school district cares about athletes.

“There is no way we could have predicted this storm that was going to do so much damage to this field,” said Valeski. He acknowledged that the district was aware that the field had passed through its lifespan.

He said after the initial inspection, there could be a drainage issue under the turf that caused the problem. This problem should be resolved before replacing the sod.

“I understand the frustration of being a senior, I understand the frustration of being the parent of a senior who can’t play in their stadium. I wish I could physically do something to make it different, but I can’t We’re doing the absolute best we can to speed up the process, ”Valeski said.

Due to the state of the turf, soccer players in Eastern Brunswick must play their matches at other venues, until further notice. Valeski said he will have more updates as the case progresses.

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