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I-Team: Towns Leave Soccer Goals Dangerously Unanchored

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – Most parents understand injuries can happen in soccer. What they don’t realize is the greatest danger may be from the soccer goal.

Stacey McGill knows the horrors first hand. Her 19-year-old son, Corey Hawk, was killed while climbing a soccer goal to fix a net. “It makes me sick that it’s something so preventable,” she said. Corey’s younger brother Cody saw it happen. “He pushed me out of the way and I looked behind me and it fell on him,” he said.

Soccer goals are heavy and according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, when they tip over, they can put players in real danger. “It can crush them. That can cause very severe injuries or even death,” said CPSC spokesperson, Patty Davis.

Since 1979, 38 young people have died, including Jason Goldfarb of Acton. Dozens more have been seriously injured. For decades, the CPSC has warned of the danger. “Your child’s life may be at stake here. Make sure those goals are properly anchored,” Davis said.

The I-Team found few towns actually follow the advice of the CPSC even though most nets have warning labels, clearly explaining the danger. According to manufacturers, most soccer programs and the CPSC, soccer goals should be secured with anchors, stakes or sandbags.

The I-Team spot-checked soccer fields in nine communities. We found nets that were not properly secured in Brookline, Cambridge, Holliston, Medford, Newton and Winchester.

The director of Winchester’s recreation department went with the I-Team to check out the goals at one of the town’s fields. Some of the nets had sandbags and some did not. “This is something that needs to be addressed right away,” he said.

In Holliston and Brookline we saw sandbags on the ground near the goals but not on them. In Newton, a coach told the I-Team that all coaches are required to bring stakes to secure the goals during games. The problem is statistics show most injuries happen when there are no games on the field. Our cameras caught a boy swinging on the crossbar of an unsecured net in Brookline. The boy was clearly not aware of the danger.

Chris Nelson hopes to get the word out to parents, coaches and the kids in town. “It’s a wakeup call,” he said.

Our investigation did prompt some changes. The cities of Cambridge and Newton tell the I-Team they are getting new equipment to help insure the goals are properly secured.

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