Editor, Ceres Courier,
On May 5, KCRA 3 Investigates reported why soccer goal posts are considered deadly. Portable goals can be dangerous, even deadly, if they are not used properly. The portable goal posts were found in parks, fields and some schools across the region.
Portable soccer goals can weigh from 200 to 500 pounds. All come with warnings to keep them anchored with steaks or sandbags, due to their top-heavy design and referees are required to check that they are before every game.
I also found a list of, "Soccer goal deaths and Injuries 1979-2016" which reports 40 deaths and 59 injuries. There are potentially hundreds of other unreported incidents.
The list of deaths listed children as young as a two-year-old who died when the wind caused the soccer goal to fall on top of her. Other deaths from soccer goals were caused while moving and setting them up, tipped or fell over, fixing net, climbing, swinging, hanging, chin-ups and horseplay, which could have been prevented if soccer goals were staked down.
KCRA 3 Investigates also reported that the anchors/stakes are either missing or have been stolen. This could also be easily prevented by merely welding a chain on the stakes and to the soccer goals.
Just to see how widespread this risk is - and see if children and soccer families could unknowingly be killed or seriously injured by unstaked soccer goals in Ceres - I went to Ceres River Bluff Regional Soccer Park to check and see if the soccer goals were staked down as required and discovered the following:
1. Eight soccer fields and most of them were being used by soccer teams practicing with children as young as 4 years old,
2. Most of the soccer goals being used had WARNING Labels painted over,
3. ALL soccer goals being used were not staked down as required,
4. All soccer goals not being used were not staked down,
5. In fact, I could not find even one soccer goal stake,
6. All soccer families and coaches I talked to were unaware that all soccer goals being used or not being used are required to be staked down at all times, and
7. All soccer families and coaches I talked to were also unaware that there is a high likelihood of death or serious injuries caused by soccer goals that are not staked down.
I seriously recommend that the city of Ceres immediately inspect all soccer goals in parks, fields and schools, to see if the required soccer goal stakes are present and being used. To eliminate future risk of death and/or serious injuries immediately weld chains on stakes and weld them to all soccer goals. Immediately see and/or attach new warning labels on ALL soccer goals that have been painted over or otherwise missing. Post warning signs visible to the general public about the risk of death and/or serious injuries where soccer goals are present.
The city of Ceres cannot afford a liability or wrongful death suit. And because it appears that a risk of future 911 calls for emergency response for soccer goal injuries might be delayed. "If we're a minute later, or two minutes or three minutes, I don't want it to be that way but I want to live in the Hearst Castle but I can't afford it," said Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra in the Ceres Courier on April 26, "Fire cuts loom with huge deficit."
A delay in future 911 response times for Ceres Fire Department first-responders to balance the budget deficit is an act of moral turpitude. To risk life and limb of Ceres residents for one to three minutes - the most critical time in a life or death scenario - is not the way to balance the deficit. A conviction of moral turpitude by Ceres officials is removal from and all future government positions.
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