The Hawaii Tourism Authority met with engineers at Aloha Stadium today to discuss replacing the artificial turf there. The meeting comes after concerns athletes could contract bacterial infections from turf burns.
Kamehameha and Iolani schools are about to start their football game here at the Aloha Stadium, but they'll have to wait to play on the new FieldTurf until next year. The only time it can be installed is after the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Day and before the Pro Bowl on February 2nd. And for UH players, it's about time.
When UH football players hit the ground at Aloha Stadium it hurts. The reason is the stadium's Astro turf.
"We've had five, six shoulder injuries from landing on the turf. It's funny that you know we have to beat good teams, but we got to beat the turf too," says June Jones.
Hard turf causes turf burn. It's the reason why June Jones is anxious to install FieldTurf, which feels much more like real grass. Today some good news, the head of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Rex Johnson, met with engineers at the stadium and took the next step in installing field turf.
"We're trying to figure out the pieces and parts of getting FieldTurf installed at Aloha Stadium in time Pro Bowl to occur," says Rex Johnson.
Replacing the Astroturf with FieldTurf is part of a five year, 22 million dollar contract with the NFL. The good news, it should be in place by February's Pro Bowl. The bad news, UH players will play the whole season risking injury on Astro turf.
"This is happening to our kids and I'm sure it's happening in the high schools too," says Jones.
And those turf burns can lead to bacterial infection, that's exactly what happened to quarterback Timmy Chang, cornerback Kenny Patton, and linebacker Chad Kalilimoku.
"We had couple of cases of cellulitis in which the bacterial will get into the skin and set up an infection," says team physician, Dr Andy Nichols.
One way to wipe out those infections, is to limit turf burn, which means changing the turf. That's something the UH Warriors wish had done sooner.
It'll cost around one-million dollars to install the new turf. The Hawaii Tourism Authority is fronting about 500,000 dollars. The rest is being negotiated with the NFL and FieldTurf.