The head of the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association expects changes will be made following the death of a five-year-old girl in Watson, Yukon, who was fatally struck on the head by a fallen soccer goal post.
KYSA executive director Keith Liddiard said the five-year-old girl’s death isn’t the first attributed to soccer goal posts. When he was with B.C. Soccer in the Lower Mainland, there were at least two similar situations where players jumped on crossbars and were killed when the posts fell on top of them.
He has heard that B.C. Soccer plans to issue a policy document within the next week to 10 days, calling for goal posts to be pegged down and anchored to the ground where possible.
“Obviously, we will comply with that,” he said.
The latest incident has fuelled a renewed discussion on goal-post safety, he said.
“We just hosted the provincial A Cup championships here and it was a topic of conversation there.”
No one has exact information on the type of portable goal post that was knocked over onto Jaedyn Amann-Hicks last week while she was playing with friends at a high-school soccer field in Watson Lake.
But Liddiard said some people still don’t seem to see the dangers. A few weeks ago, he saw two youngsters perched on the crossbar of an aluminum goal on McArthur Island, nearly three metres up in the air.
Their parents were sitting below them.
“I yelled out, ‘That’s an accident waiting to happen,’” he said.
The response he got back from the parents was yelling and swearing.
“If people swing or jump on them, you’re asking for trouble,” he said.
Liddiard said the medium- and full-sized goals may tip over. People don’t peg them down because it’s easier to put the nets on them that way.
For its under-10 players, KYSA uses plastic goals, which aren’t a risk.
“We only use our own goals for under-10 and below,” Liddiard explained. “The rest are City or school goals. Some parks do have permanent solid posted goals in the ground. But the modern ones, with net support on the back and bars across the ground, would be considered dangerous. They are heavy enough to cause some damage.
“You get four or five, maybe six kids hanging on those posts, they tip. The goals themselves are very sturdy, they’re well kept. On their own, they’re fine.”
City facilities and business operations manager Jeff Putnam said he wasn’t aware of the Yukon incident.
But he and parks operations supervisor Shawn Cook said the City has about 40 sets of Canadian Standards Association-approved aluminum goals that are lighter than older ones.
“We have state-of-the-art safety approved nets,” Putnam said, adding the aluminum is expensive but meets a high safety standard.
“We’ve never had an issue.”
City staffers do a formal visual inspection of playing fields every two weeks and informal inspections about three times a week. The City spends about $20,000 a year on soccer nets.
The goals are light, but difficult to tip over and can be staked to the ground, Cook said.
“The old metal ones are heavy. They’ll do some harm. We don’t have any anymore.”
School district facilities and transportation director Art McDonald said to his knowledge, the only portable goal posts at any schools in town are at the Henry Grube Centre.
The rest are set in concrete in the ground.
“The bulk of ours are cemented in,” he said.