Guest Column - May 2010
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Sports Surfaces

Improve Safety on the Court

By Xavier Nicolau

he risk of injury on the indoor court can be the difference between old specifications for sports flooring and the new type approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

To ensure optimum levels of safety and playability, sports flooring should adhere to the new ASTM F2772 regulations in multi-sports flooring. The new floor regulations set benchmarks for good sports floors based on shock absorption and ball bounce. The ASTM F2772 standard classifies floors into five performance level classifications from C1 to C5, where C1 is the minimum with 10 percent in force reduction. The higher the shock absorption a floor provides, the better an athlete is protected from injuries.

Why Use the New Sports Flooring?

According to the Web site,, 50 percent of all organized sports-related injuries can be prevented. The new ASTM F2772 standard supports this statistic by outlining approved shock absorption qualities and reduction in force rates, as well as enhanced ball bounce and playability. The new guideline provides the following benefits:

Protection for athletes of all levels to minimize stress on the body and prevent injury.

Ease of mind for facility managers, architects, end users or sports facility owners who can be confident that their facility is safe and meets new ASTM standards.

Consistency across the flooring industry that specifiers can use to make intelligent choices when it comes to sports flooring surfaces.

Do Your Floors Meet the New Standard?

How can you know if your floors follow the minimum criteria of the new ASTM F2772 standard and which type of shock absorption you need for your facility?

The rule of thumb is that vinyl composition tiles (VCT) and carpet lack cushion and shock absorption, and don't meet the minimum criteria of the first category. Thus, they should not be used for sports.

When considering wood flooring and other non-vinyl options, it can be very costly and difficult to maintain these types of floors throughout their life cycle. Vinyl back flooring is a cost-effective alternative, and offers different levels of shock absorption, as well as ball rebound and other important sports floor criteria.

Shock Absorption and Comfort: Floor thickness does not always guarantee greater shock absorption. A good vinyl sports floor meets the ASTM F2772 standard for shock absorption, which means less risk of injuries due to jumps or falls.

Performance and Playability: ASTM F2772 requires a minimum of 90 percent ball rebound across the entire sports flooring surface.