New End Nets Improve Safety at Turco FIeld

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New end-line netting is placed behind each goal post on the turf to prevent balls from hitting the track.

Alyssa Rosen

New end-line netting is placed behind each goal post on the turf to prevent balls from hitting the track.
New end-line netting is placed behind each goal post on the turf to prevent balls from hitting the track.

Usually for after-school sports, only one sports team can occupy Turco Field at a time. For instance, Boys Lacrosse cannot practice on the field at the same time as Girls Lacrosse (although they may split fields occasionally).  And in some towns, the Walpole Track cannot practice at the same time as the Lacrosse.  However, in Walpole, there is a certain time when Walpole Track and Lacrosse coexist, usually from 3:30 to 4:30, a time when Lacrosse players may occasionally hit an athlete with a stray shot.  To prevent this occurrence, the Walpole Track Booster and the Lacrosse Boosters have invested in a solution: end-line netting.

These end-line nets, costing a total of $6,500, are 180 feet long by 12 feet high with ten supports on each end and extend behind each goal post.  While end-line nets do not protect against any lacrosse balls thrown off the sidelines, they do protect high-jumpers and horizontal jumpers from being hit.

Lacrosse balls are very dense, for they are made of solid rubber and weigh about 147 grams.  Hence, when high school players are whipping the ball into the small lacrosse net trying to score, the chance of lacrosse balls missing the small net puts track runners at risk of possibly rolling an ankle over one of the balls or even getting hit on their body.

Freshman Olivia West, a hurdler for Walpole Girls Track, was hit in the ankle with a lacrosse ball during a track practice at the start of the season. “The nets around the field will improve the safety of the athletes because they will stop lacrosse balls from rolling onto the track,” said Olivia West. “I think that the nets around the field will improve the safety of the athletes because they will stop lacrosse balls from rolling onto the track.”

Sophomore Anna Van der Linden, another hurdler for Walpole Girls Track, also was hit during track practice in the leg by a lacrosse ball.  She said, “I don’t believe that putting the nets up will make a difference because they will not cover the entire field and track players can get hit at different angles.”

Because of these types incidents, the Boosters Programs for the two high school sports and the youth sports invested the money to prevent future problems.

Joe Grant, a youth lacrosse coach who advocated for the of nets said, “The nets add a barrier for games and practices that will help keep both the high school and youth games moving quicker. While no system is foolproof this is a great benefit to the community.”