House cracks down on soccer goals prone to tipping after fatal accident
BY STEPHEN DI BENEDETTO Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org April 15, 2011 7:40PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House Friday launched a crackdown on a common type of soccer goal that has been known to tip over and that cost a Vernon Hills boy his life.
In 2003, six-year-old Zachary Tran was killed in the northern suburb during a soccer practice when a 180-pound, metal goal tipped over and struck him on the head.
On Friday, the Illinois House unanimously passed legislation aimed to prevent future such accidents.
“When Zach was killed back in 2003, one of the first things we tried to figure out is why,” Jayson Tran, Zach’s father, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “We came to find out that this is a danger out there that no one knows about.”
The bill, which passed 110-0 and now heads to the Senate, would ban the sale and distribution of soccer goals that are not tip-resistant within a year.
The Tran family pushed the legislation through their non-profit, Anchored for Safety. They have successfully advanced similar legislation in Wisconsin and Arkansas.
Since 1979, the group has documented 36 deaths in the United States tied to improperly secured soccer goals.
Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills), the bill’s chief House sponsor, said her predecessor, former Rep. Kathleen Ryg (D-Vernon Hills), tried to pass legislation following Tran’s death but was met with resistance from lawyers and park districts that feared safeguards could increase liability and lead to a flood of lawsuits.
Sente said the current bill allows each individual park district to craft its own safety policy on how to store, set up and maintain soccer goals, including how they would be secured.
“We agreed that our goal was to make sure everyone was safe and that we prevented these deaths,” Sente said.
A spokeswoman for the Chicago Park District said soccer fields in the city are equipped with tip-resistant goals or anchored ones.