In 2008, Mary Ellias’ 10-year-old son Hayden was doing what he loved the most — playing soccer during his team’s big game in western Pennsylvania.
Mary and her husband were watching from the sidelines as Hayden played the position of goalie. But no one was aware of the hidden danger standing right behind him. The crowd kept their eyes on the soccer ball as Hayden blocked a goal and threw it downfield. Suddenly, Mary heard a huge crash. “When we looked down field, there he was under the goal,” Mary told WTAE. “The goal had fallen over on him.”
Hayden’s neck was broken. Mary watched her own son pass away.
Though it was too late to save her boy, Mary made a promise to save others from goals like the one that killed Hayden. “Never, ever would have ever dreamed that there was a danger lying right there, every day. Just didn’t know it.” She learned that Hayden was one of at least 39 people, ages 4-31, killed since 1979 — all from being crushed by goals. In addition, at least 57 people were seriously injured.
Soccer goals are lightweight in the back, but are loaded with hundreds of pounds of metal in the front. Each goal sent to schools and organizations come with anchors, plus warnings to keep them anchored. After hearing Mary’s story, investigative reporters found that anchors all across western Pennsylvania were not being used. Many practice goals were not secured at all, or were held down by empty sandbags. Knowing what we know now, this is absolutely unacceptable.
Please SHARE Mary’s warning with your friends on Facebook, and help us spread this powerful message to parents everywhere.
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