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Eight-year-old Gabriel Mendoza, from Phoenix, Arizona, has died after a soccer goal post fell on top of him at a local YMCA. Investigators say the boy, who was playing goalie at the time, grabbed the overhead bar to swing from it when it all came crashing down. The impact of the crash killed him. Mendoza was in the second grade at a nearby school for children with special needs.


The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has warned how unstable these goals are for years, and have asked that they be anchored to the ground. In the past thirty years, more than two-dozen people have been killed due to the goal’s instability. In March 1999, the CPSC and the soccer goal industry developed a standard that would reduce the risk of a goal tipping over. It requires movable soccer goals, except very lightweight goals, not tip over when the goal is weighted in a downward or horizontal direction. It also requires a warning label be attached to the goal, warning of the dangers of it tipping over when not properly anchored. The Executive Director of the YMCA states that to her knowledge, the soccer goal that killed Mendoza was not anchored to the ground. The CPSC asks that all soccer goals, even those that are handmade, be anchored to the ground for safety.


This is at least the second time in the past year that a child 10 years of age or younger has been killed by an unanchored soccer goal that tipped over.  Last May 2007, Hayden Ellias, age 10, was killed by a soccer goal that tipped and fell during a scrimmage when Hayden was playing goalie.  Currently, my law firm, Michie Hamlett Lowry Rasmussen & Tweel of Charlottesville, Virginia, is one of two firms representing Hayden’s parents in a pending wrongful death lawsuit filed in Prince William County, Virginia.  These tragic events simply should not occur.  The technology exists to design these goals so that they do not tip over, and there is an abundance of information available to youth soccer organizations for preventing these deaths and injuries.  One should start with the Consumer Products Safety Commission at

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