Childhood and sports go almost hand in hand. Whether it’s because you’re genuinely into it, or because your parents signed you up to help you learn about teamwork and discipline, just about everyone’s been part of some kind of children’s sports league or after-school activity at some point. Generally speaking, the worst memory a parent can have of their child playing sports is a losing game or maybe an injury. For Mary Ellias, however, it’s so much worse.
Back in 2008, her 10-year-old son, Hayden, was playing in a soccer match in western Pennsylvania. Hayden played the position of goalie, and Mary and her husband proudly watched as he blocked a shot and threw the ball back downfield. Suddenly, she heard a crashing sound and looked back to see that the goal had fallen over on her son. His neck broken by the impact, all she could do was watch helplessly as he died.
It turns out that Hayden was one of at least 39 people since 1979 to have been killed by falling goalposts, while another 57 people have been seriously injured in this way. Soccer goals are lightweight in the back, but pretty heavy up front. Although they come with anchoring equipment, an investigative report found that most goals are rarely secured properly. Mary finds this unacceptable, and hopes her tragedy will be a warning to others.
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