During her son’s big soccer game, a western Pennsylvania mom never dreamed it would become the worst day of her life. Soccer mom Mary Ellias lived for watching her 10-year-old son Hayden on the field. He was passionate about the sport and spoke of becoming a professional soccer player one day.
Just like any other game, Ellias and her husband sat on the sidelines excitedly watching the game unfold. Hayden was goalie that day and everyone cheered after he blocked a goal and threw the ball downfield. Afterwards, the crowd’s attention turned towards the ball, but they never suspected what would happen next.
Out of nowhere, they heard an enormous crash. Everyone’s eyes turned towards the direction of the sound and witnessed a devastating scene. “When we looked down field, there he was under the goal,” said Ellias. “The goal had fallen over on him.”
Hayden lay on the ground bleeding underneath the several-hundred-pound goal. It had broken his neck. Ellias rushed to her son to comfort him, never knowing it would be his final moments.
Watching her little boy slip away that day gave Mary the resolution to prevent this tragedy from happening to anyone else. She started an investigation which led her to discover some disturbing data. Hayden was the 39th person to be killed by a falling goal since 1979. In addition, at least 57 people suffered serious injuries.
“Never, ever would have ever dreamed that there was a danger lying right there, every day. Just didn’t know it.” she told WTAE.
All soccer goals used by schools and organizations come with warnings to keep them anchored with stakes or sandbags due to their top-heavy design. soccer goals carry hundreds of pounds of metal in the front and are lighter in the back.
Recently, investigative reporters learned that anchors were not being used on the majority of goals in western Pennsylvania, not just due to negligence, but because no one is really enforcing it.
Ellias will continue fighting to make it a law to use anchors on every soccer goal until it becomes a nationwide practice. Please help Mary in advocating for safer soccer fields by sharing her urgent message with your friends and family!