When you think of keeping your children safe in soccer, perhaps thoughts of proper shin guards or ways to best avoid concussions come to mind. It's vitally important, however, not to overlook a major potential danger to life and limb on the playing field: the goalpost. From 1979 to 2014, there have been nearly 100 deaths and major injuries from goalposts toppling over. Just this past July, 15-year-old soccer player Jamie Palm of Bradford, Canada, lost her life to an improperly installed goalpost. All too often safety standards are not followed in the use of this equipment: a goalpost can weigh up to 500 lbs. and easily crush an adult or child.
Even though goalposts can be very heavy, they are prone to tip over easily just from a gust of wind, not to mention when kids hang off of them. So how do we prevent further tragedies from occurring? The answer is simple - follow safety standards to ensure that goalposts are stable and properly anchored. The following key tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission will go a long way in protecting our children on the soccer field.
- Securely anchor or counterweight a movable goalpost at ALL times.
- Anchor or chain goalposts to each other, face-down/folded in on themselves, or to fences, posts, dugouts, etc. when not in use. If that's not practical, store movable goals in a place children can't play on them.
- Remove nets when goals aren't in use.
- Check the goal and connecting hardware for sturdiness. Replace damaged or missing parts or fasteners immediately.
- NEVER allow anyone to climb on the goalpost or the net.
- Make sure safety and warning labels are clearly visible.
- Fully disassemble goals for storage off-season.
- Use extreme caution when moving goals from one place to another. Goals should only be moved by a sufficient number of qualified personnel.
- Only use movable soccer goals on level surfaces (a flat playing field).