The Problem & Solution
Soccer Goals are Dangerous!
There is a ticking time bomb on playing fields all across the United States. A problem that soccer organizations, municipalities, park and recreation districts and schools are all aware of and have been aware of for years. It is an issue that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has addressed on multiple occasions with warnings and guidelines. The danger is moveable soccer goals tipping over and killing or seriously injuring people on fields with alarming regularity. It is a problem that seems so simple to remedy, yet up until now has proved much more challenging than the effort mounted to eradicate it. The Goal Alert™ device will change this.
When Will Your Community Be Affected?
This problem has caused 35 deaths in just the United States since 1979. In 2007 three people were killed and in 2008 two in Arizona alone; all needless deaths.
Just weeks after the second Arizona death an ABC 15 news reporter investigated Phoenix area goals and found that 1 in 5 (20%) remained unstaked (ABC15 Investigative Report #1, ABC 15 Investigative Report #2).
The average age of death associated with tip-over accidents is just 11 years old, with some victims as young as 3 and 4 years old. Along with the deaths by tip-overs, the CPSC estimates that annually there are between 90-200 serious injuries requiring hospitalization, many of which are to the brain and spine. The deaths and injuries are a result of blunt force trauma to the head, neck, spine, chest and limbs of the victims.
These moveable goals tip over by various means including, net installation, climbing on nets, moving goals, high winds etc. Even properly staked goals have fallen after heavy rains. All of these factors led the Goal Alert™ team to consider a new strategy to combat the problem.
A Round-The-Clock Monitoring System
The Goal Alert™ device is set on the ground and docked up with the below-grade anchor and beneath the soccer goals back ground bar. When properly and initially set in place with the base of the goal over the Goal Alert™ lever, a green flag will serve notice that the base of the goal has not raised more than ± ½" off the ground; which we define as "substantial" ground contact. It is at this point that the goal should be properly anchored and counterweighted (please review the U.S. CPSC for these guidelines for securing the goal at (www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/326.html).
If at any point after the initial setting of the Goal Alert™ mechanism the goal loses substantial contact with the ground, the Goal Alert™ mechanism will signal this potentially unsafe development. It does this by launching the red "DANGER" flag into the standing upright position while simultaneously dropping the green "Safe-to-Play" flag. Although Goal Alert™ deploys an extremely effective backup anchoring system, if the "DANGER" flag is launched activity in the vicinity of the goal should halt until the goal's primary anchoring system is re-secured.
Educating The Community & Framing Your Organizational Priorities
The presence of the Goal Alert™ device communicates to your soccer community the proactive and conscientious stance your organization is taking in dealing with the incontestable danger posed by these goals. The Goal Alert™ device will take a proactive stance in guarding the safety of those in your community, especially your children. It will also educate your soccer community by raising the level of awareness of this dangerous problem through the questions raised due to the Goal Alert’s™ conspicuous presence at each goal. Explanation of its presence will be boldly displayed on the flags themselves and the large educational banner that will be tie-wrapped to the net.
Managing Your Organizations Risk & Liability
To organizations like soccer clubs and associations, municipalities, schools, park and recreation districts and YMCAs etc. proper management of everyday risks and liabilities makes it easier to focus on the benefits offered to the community it serves. Failing to do so, these organizations instead have to focus on injuries, insolvency through lawsuits, litigation and unmanageable insurance premiums. The Goal Alert™ helps these entities manage the risk and liability inherent in each soccer goal proactively by allowing for more frequent, efficient and affordable goal monitoring.
In the past, the only way to ensure that a goal was properly affixed to the ground was through an actual “walk-up”, which is a physical goal “shake” evaluation along with a close visual inspection. The visual inspection is often hindered by the buildup of grass, leaves and possibly snow around the base of the goal. Because of its use of red and green flags, the Goal Alert™ allows for remote visual supervision typically without anyone having to exit a vehicle or even slow down. The efficiency of this remote examination will allow for more positive inspections, which will more effectively limit your organization’s liability and managing your risk.
Furthermore, and possibly the greatest advantage of the Goal Alert™, is its’ ability to empower the entire community to engage in goal safety through the Goal Alert’s™ simple yet unmistakable red “DANGER” flag call to action.
Let’s Start Protecting Our Children
The greatest responsibility any community has is the responsibility to protect the safety of its children. It is statistically undeniable that the soccer community has failed at this task. The facts are simple, the problem has been present for decades and data tells us the problem is growing (likely with the popularity of the sport). There now exists a tool to help end this. The question is whether the soccer community will implement this new monitoring device or do nothing but wait for the next serious injury or death. The statistics tell us the next incident is coming. With this in mind, we urge the soccer community to act now to help end this problem.