Soccer Pole Causes Death of 6 year old in Veron HIlls

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It started out just like any other soccer practice, but six-year-old Zachary Tran didn’t live to see the end of it. On that day, nearly eight years ago, an improperly-secured 184 pound goal post fell over, striking the Vernon Hills boy in the head. The first grader later succumbed to his head injuries.

A lawsuit against the association claimed the goal was not anchored into the ground by stakes and had no counterbalance. “The coroner tested it. It took 25 pounds of force to pull it over at two feet tall. So really a toddler could pull it over or the wind could knock it over it or if it had been at all on on an incline. These things are just really unstable,” said Michelle Tran. The Tran family went on to form Anchored for Safety, a non-profit group promoting soccer-goal safety and pushing for legislation requiring goals to be properly secured and monitored.

In fact, little Zach wasn’t the first, as 27 others across the nation reported similar circumstances. Zach’s parents say in the last eight years since their son’s death, 10 more children have died in cases of goals falling on them on soccer fields. Anchoredforsafety.org lists 36 deaths and 56 injuries related to portable soccer goals in the U.S. between 1979 and 2011. Zach Tran’s death was one of four incidents in Illinois, including a 1998 accident that left a 9-year-old Deerfield boy with serious facial injuries. Now, Governor Pat Quinn has signed legislation that requires all goals between 6.5 to 8 feet high and 18 to 24 feet wide to follow tip-resistant standards.

These standards must comply with the American Society for Testing and Materials. The passing of this house bill makes Illinois the first state to ban the manufacture and sale of soccer goals that do not meet new tip-resistant standards.Additionally, House Bill 1130 creates the Moveable Soccer Goal Safety Act, which requires those who use moveable soccer goals to make policies concerning soccer goal safety and education.

Mary Jane Bender , executive director of the Illinois Youth Soccer Association, said the organization has always had goal safety awareness and policies that addressed the issue. “After the Zach Tran case, the penalties were increased,” Bender said. ”Any coach or entity who is responsible for a field or game where the goal is not anchored will be fined $1,000.”

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