On March 20, 2015 a 13 year old boy was air lifted from the Eastlake Middle School in Chula Vista, CA after he received severe head injuries when a soccer goal fell on him. It is still unclear how the accident occurred and it is unclear if any anchoring devices were in place at the time. Our hopes and prayers for a full recovery go out to the young boy and his family and we pray that, someday, the soccer goal industry will recognize that for a soccer goal to be safe and portable it must include a permanent ballast system attached to the rear of the goal. We must find a way to stop this travesty.
SafeSoccer Goals continues to live up to its name by developing the soccer industry’s first Soccer Tip Over Prevention System (S.T.O.PS.) that will securely attach to the rear cross bar of any soccer goal on the market and eliminate accidental tip overs while providing easy and portability. This patent pending rear roller assembly will be our third safe soccer patent since 1992 and we will continue to strive to eliminate the extraordinary danger that all other soccer goals pose to today’s soccer players. We have known for many years that the only way to make a soccer goal safe is to include the ballast and portability features as an integral part of the goal and SafeSoccer is the only goal manufacturer that is totally committed to that concept.
Stay tuned for the official introduction of S.T.O.P.S by SafeSoccer Goals!
” 15 year old girl dies after soccer goal accident on Bradford, Ontario soccer field” Authorities don’t know how it happened but she was pinned under the crossbar of an overturned goal. Her friend tried to lift the goal but it was too heavy. The you girl succumbed to her injuries at a local hospital.
During the 1970’s and 80’s the sport of soccer exploded in the US prompted by Title IX legislation and a general increased interest in the sport of soccer. High schools and colleges added soccer to their sports programs and youth soccer exploded on the scene. All this soccer activity required soccer equipment including very large, 24′ x 8′ structures that could weigh as much as 400 lbs each that were impossible to move and inherently unsafe. As we all know, unlike the rest of the world who uses permanently installed soccer posts, the US market requires that goals be portable and in theory, movable. It is now estimated that there are more than 500,000 pairs of portable soccer goals on playing fields throughout the United States
In the summer of 1992 the Consumer Product Safety Commission invited soccer goal manufacturers to Washington, DC to discuss the safety of portable soccer goals and the subsequent injuries and deaths that were occurring throughout the United States. The CPSC reported that since 1979 22 children had been killed by soccer goals accidentally tipping over. At that time, the manufacturers made the case that the accidents must have been caused by homemade soccer goals that were made locally or even by the school’s mechanical shop department. There is no evidence available to confirm this hypothesis but it was believed that warning labels on all portable soccer goals would mitigate the liability risk of the manufacturers. In any case the CPSC recommended that warning labels be sent to all schools that had soccer goals while they studied the issue further.
In 1995 the CPSC issued preliminary “guidelines” suggesting that in addition to warning labels movable soccer goals should be anchored or counter weighted; kids should be warned to never climb on the goal net or goal framework; players should be instructed on the safe handling of and potential dangers associated with movable goals; movable goals should be used only on flat fields; nets should be removed when goals are not in use; goals should be chained to nearby fence posts, dugouts or similar fixtures when not in use; goals should be fully disassemble for seasonal storage. There is no evidence that the CPSC had ever tried to move a 300 lb portable soccer goal to determine these guidelines.
On October 1, 1997, the Manchester Union Leader newspaper, in response to a recent New Hampshire soccer goal death, reported that “Makers of soccer equipment are nearing agreement on standards to prevent goal frames from tipping over and crushing children who climb on them.”
On March 2, 1999 the “Provisional Safety Standard and Performance Specifications for Soccer Goals (ASTM-PS-75-79) was approved and requires that movable soccer goals not tip over when a downward force of 396 lbs
is applied to the center of the crossbar for 1 minute and a horizontal pull force of 242 lbs is applied at the top of the front and center of the crossbar for 1 minute. In theory, this is a positive step forward but of course it is just a theory. There are no means available for the end user to measure these pull forces and actually determine whether their portable soccer goals can meet these safety requirements. In fact, it is very unlikely that goals secured with 8″ ground stakes or 10 lb sand bags could meet the ASTM F2056 standards for soccer goal safety.
In May of 1999, in release #99-106 it was stated that the CPSC and the soccer goal industry helped develop a new safety standard that will reduce the risk of soccer goal tip-over. Chairman Ann Brown said, “we want kids to have fun, be active, and play soccer with goals that are safely anchored into the ground. The new standard makes soccer goals stable and, therefore less likely to tip over on children.” These recommendations must have been discussed in a conference room with no windows. In the real world, the committee could have looked outside and seen kids pulling out the half installed or loose stakes to move the goals. Or they might have seen them rolling the sand bags out of the way. (One leading manufacturer holds a patent on a sandbag device with a handle attached which makes it easier to remove).
In reality, because of differing soil conditions and unsupervised use – stakes, j-hooks, pegs, and sand bags are ineffective, or generally ignored by the end user and/or easily removed by kids who want to move the goals
Semi-permanent anchors that are buried in the ground would meet the ASTM F2056 requirements but are seldom used because the goals need to be moved, sometimes daily and the attachments are dangerous when exposed in the playing field. As a tragic consequence, 8 deaths have occurred during the period of 1992-1999 when the issue was being studied and 12 additional deaths were reported from 1999-2012 after the ASTM F2056 safety specifications were put in place.
No arbitrary safety requirements or legislation will eliminate future deaths. The only realistic solutions are that portable soccer goals be permanently anchored to the ground or that properly designed safety ballast, that also allows easy movement of the goal be an integral part of each goal that cannot be removed.
January 2012 Newton Grove, NC
“A third grader died Sunday after a soccer goal fell on his head in Sampson County at 607 Mt. Olive Dr, Newton Grove.
Maria Escalera says her son, Juan Escalera, 9, was visiting his cousins and decided to play soccer after church.
“My husband said that it happened in less than 2 minutes” Escalera said, adding that the goal posts metal bars were not secured. “They yelled and screamed that something had happened to my son, that the goal thing had fallen on top his head.”
Juan died of brain trauma at a local hospital.
“Soccer was one of his favorite sports” Escalara said. “Only God knows why he took him that way from me.”
It was unclear what caused the goal to fall.
“I mean, it still doesn’t seem right to us. I mean, because the pipes are so heavy. My brother-in-law tried to pick it up, and he couldn’t pick it up by himself,” Escalera said. “There are kids who love soccer….and they need to make sure everything is secured correctly.
Potable soccer goals, which can weigh up to 500 pounds, have killed 36 people in the U. S. since 1979, according to the Consumer Product Protection Commission. Hundreds more have been seriously injured. Many of the causes involved head injuries and often happened when someone was climbing or hanging from the bars.
Goals are supposed to be held down with sand bags or stakes, and referees are required to check that they are before every game.”
In reality, sand bags and stakes are ineffective and do not work well in all conditions. Soccer goals are unbalanced and front heavy. The solution is to calculate the ballast needed to prevent accidental tip overs.
In response to recent soccer goal accidents and deaths several states have initiated new laws that further mandate or encourage the following of the recommendations of CPSC that were put in place in 1999. In Arkansas the law requires that all soccer goals on public and school fields be anchored to the ground. Illinois and Wisconsin have also passed similar laws in their states to help solve this long term soccer industry atrocity. We hope that these new laws (which carries a $500 fine in one state) will have some impact on the industry and prevent accidental tip overs and eliminate any and all injuries and deaths. We have hope but reality may get in the way.
Europe, of course, has been far ahead of the US in everything involving soccer. In truth, most soccer or football goals in Europe are permanently installed in the ground and the football fields are used only for soccer and usually owned by the local soccer clubs and not associated with the schools. Many years ago European laws mandated that portable goals that are free standing must be weighted in such a way that each goal must resist a tip-over when 500 lbs of horizontal force is applied to the crossbar of the goal. In addition, the law requires that the goal must also resist an equal downward force from the crossbar and not tip over. Soccer managers who fail to adhere to these mandates, with a resulting accident, face serious prison time.
In truth, accidental tip overs are not subject to, nor will the results be influenced by any federal recommendation or state law. Like it or not, accidental soccer goal accidents are caused by very lightweight goals that can blow over in the wind or very heavyweight goals that are unbalanced and will tip over with or without ground stakes. This is about physics and not legislation. Taking a page from the European playbook – soccer goals can be made perfectly safe by weighting the rear of each goal with the appropriate weight as determined by a simple physics formula that calculates the weight of the goal, the set back of the rear weight, and the appropriate weight assigned to each roller. Following the laws of physics, SafeSoccer Goals offers superb safety and yet is easily and safely moved by lifting the front of the goal.
Another tragic soccer goal death was reported in Bentonville, AR in January 2011 when 9 -year-old Jonathan Nelson died when a portable soccer goal fell on him at the Elm Tree Elementary School. The fourth grader was playing with other school children when the unanchored goal tipped over. Officials were uncertain about how the accident occurred.
Earlier, in January 2007, Corey Hawk, then an 18 year old soccer player died when he was attempting to adjust the net on a goal at a city park in Lake Wales, FL. City officials reported that they had moved the goals to allow new grass to grow in the worn goal mouth area. The city reported using permanent anchors but had moved the goals to implement their maintenance program. In addition, the city said that this was an ongoing problem with people moving the goals. “Padlocking the goals to the anchors didn’t work, reported CJ Torrance, City Manager. People would simply unscrew the anchors to move the goals. The staff is trying to figure out a way to permanently keep them on the ground.”
Speaking of ground anchors, Gary Mysorski, Recreation Director in Port Aransas, TX recently opined that their barrier island soil was all sand and that anchors and stakes are totally ineffective and needs to find a more realistic and effective anchoring system that insures the safety of the soccer players and allows the staff to easily and safely move their portable goals. And, of course the same could be said for goals that are used on artificial turf surfaces which are more and more common at all levels of play. There is really only one way to guarantee the safety of players and staff members – anchor the rear of the goal with sand filled polyethylene rollers that provide ballast and allow the goal to be easily and safely moved.
Each New Year brings the hope that we will make the changes necessary to improve our lives. I would sincerely hope that 2011 is the year that we take seriously the safety of our portable soccer goals and create a truly safe environment for the soccer players and all kids exposed to the danger of portable soccer goals. In the late eighties The Consumer Product Safety Commission assembled the US manufacturers of soccer goals to review the large number of deaths and injuries caused by accidental soccer goal tip overs since 1979. At the time, the manufacturers were able to convince the CPSC that most of the accidents were caused by “homemade goals” although the record to date indicates that only four of the accidents through 2010 were caused by “homemade goals.” These accidents occurred in a variety of ways with kids climbing on the nets; hanging from the crossbars; trying to move the goals; and even goals blowing over in the wind. In March of 1999 the CPSC approved “The Provisional Safety Standard and Performance Specifications for Soccer Goals (ASTM-75-99) which concluded that warning labels, hooks, stakes, permanent and semi-permanent anchors and sand bags would reduce the rate of accidents. In a perfect world of ideal soil conditions (i.e. no Astro Turf) and 24 hour supervision, some of these recommendations may actually prevent a horrible accident. In truth, hundreds of near accidents occur everyday and go unreported because, thankfully, no one is injured. However, 8′ x 24′ soccer goals can weigh up to 450 lbs and take ten to twelve people to safely move. Not really what we would call a portable soccer goal. I have traveled throughout the US and walked on to hundreds of soccer fields and have seldom if ever seen a soccer goal with a foolproof anchor system that prevents the goal from tipping over and still allows the maintenance staff or players to easily and safely move the goals. Wheels sometimes work to move the goals -until they go flat – but do not provide any safety ballast. Polyethylene rear rollers filled with sand are the perfect solution.
CPSC ASTM-PS-75-99 can be reviewed at http//www.kidsource.com/CPSC/soccer.safety.cpsc.html
Anchoredforsafety.org, an organization that seeks to educate players, coaches and the general public about the dangers of improperly securing soccer goals, has a list of fatalities and injuries as a result of soccer goals unsuspectingly tipping over. It is a sobering reminder of how something perceived to be so harmless, can in fact be deadly. The Safe Soccer Goal is a significant leap forward in preventing further tragedies. Learn more about how your school or organization can gain piece of mind and reduce its liability by purchasing the safest soccer goals in the industry.