Incidents continue to rise due to injuries from unsecured goals, with a fatality as recent as April of this year. A two year old was killed in Tennessee this past April when a gust of wind overturned the unsecured goal as she was walking next to it, killing her instantly. Here’s a link to one of the internet articles http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/04/30/two-year-old-girl-killed-high-winds-topple-soccer-goal-antioch/101136554/. Common sense tells us we can’t avoid everything that could cause us harm but common sense also tells us we can avoid many dangers if we purposefully and diligently address areas of harm in which we have influence or control. The severity of insurance claims for bodily injury and the resulting financial responsibility from unsecured goals, has been on the rise for over 20 years. This makes sense considering the popularity of the sport has increased exponentially during the same time period.
Liability can be assigned to a number of people and organizations when an injury occurs. I discussed the issues of unsecured goals with a specialist in the insurance industry to obtain his opinion on the topic. He confirmed everyone associated with the use of a field, should be made aware of how they can be held accountable should a player or fan be injured. The warning label isn’t just for the owner of the goal, but for anyone on or around the goal. There may be degrees of negligence but plaintiff attorneys will paint a picture to include multiple responsible parties that will include the team, the player, the league, the owners of the field, the association and so on…for unsafe playing conditions. Even the player who was injured would be held accountable to a degree for his or her own injury but only to a point. 90% of State jurisdictions subscribe to “comparative negligence”, meaning a jury can determine who is “most” at fault and award damages proportionately.
Everyone can agree that a goal appears harmless, and looks as inviting as playground equipment. It’s because of its “playful” appearance the danger is compounded. All administrators, players and coaches need to be made aware there may be agreements for the use of the field that require the team using the field to accept responsibility for the goal before, during and after use. Make sure that EVERY location your players practice, and play are included on your insurance certificate. If you have a question about this, please check with Sarah Cantwell [firstname.lastname@example.org – 317-975-2009] Coaches, players, and administrator indifference to this topic may prove costly and more importantly, painful for everyone in the soccer family and devastating to the family of the child. We don’t want a name added to the Memorial Cup trophy because a goal was left unsecured!
Please make goal safety a preseason topic of discussion each and every season for ALL coaches, managers and administrators. Together, we can substantially mitigate, if not, eliminate this risk for our players, siblings and fans.
Dave Guthrie, Executive Director, Indiana Soccer Association