VIRGINIA (WUSA) - Five years after 10-year-old Hayden Ellias of Virginia died when a soccer goal fell on him, Virginia's legislature may finally pass new safety measures. His parents are behind the effort. They call it Hayden's goal.
His parents were on the sidelines watching their son's game when the goal fell on him. The father is a nurse and ran to his boy and tried to save him. But he was already gone. Now, they want to make sure it doesn't happen again to someone else's child.
"Nobody should have to experience something so senseless when it can be so easily prevented," said Mary Ellias. The last time she and her husband Greg saw Hayden alive was on the soccer field. He was the goalie on a travel team and had just saved a goal and kicked the ball downfield. Everybody was looking the other way, when the goal fell on top of Hayden and killed him.
"I have been around soccer my whole like and had no idea that could happen. I just didn't even know those things could tip over. And we still don't even know how or why the goal tipped over on our son," said Mary.
And, since nobody saw the goal fall, it's not known why it fell, whether it was the wind, or perhaps Hayden or another player pushed or moved it, making it tip.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported more than 20 deaths form movable goals when it issued soccer goal safety guidelines back in 1995. It recommended securing them with ground anchors or sand bags.
"They can weigh upwards of 400 pounds and it only takes 22 pounds of pressure to knock one over," said Greg Ellias.
"We just kind of have this blind faith in these organizations that they know what they're going," said Mary.
The tragedy of losing their son motivated the Elliases to seek new legislation. Virginia Senator Jill Vogel is sponsoring The Movable Soccer Goal Safety Act that would require organizations that own or control movable soccer goals to establish a goal safety and educational program. Also, it would ban the sale and manufacture of movable soccer goals that are NOT tip resistant. The measure is already a law in other states.
Coaches, parents, owners, children, "everybody needs to be aware of the dangers," said Greg Ellias.
The Ellias family won a lawsuit against the goal's manufacturer and various soccer associations. But, sadly, since Hayden's death in 2007, there have been three more deaths, two brain injuries and a paralysis from incidents with soccer goals.