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MPP Todd Smith Garrett’s Legacy Act passes second reading

UPDATE: Bill passed second reading Thursday, Dec. 7.

MPP Todd Smith introduces Garrett’s Legacy Act in hopes of saving lives on soccer fields

NOV. 22 – In an emotional day at Queen’s Park, Prince Edward Hastings MP Todd Smith introduced legislation to require all movable soccer goal nets in Ontario be anchored.

He presented the “Garrett’s Legacy Act” with Dave and Gwen Mills, whose 15-year-old son May Garrett Mills died this summer in Napanee when an unanchored soccer goal came down and crushed his skull. Garrett Mills had never played soccer. Rather, was doing chin-ups on the soccer goal, when it collapsed and killed him.

More than 51 children in North America have died, and hundreds more have incurred serious injuries, after moveable soccer nets tipped over on unsuspecting youngsters.

“The greatest issue is that unanchored soccer goals are a known risk,” said Smith. “The Ontario Recreation Facilities Association stated that, ‘unanchored soccer goals are unsafe because they are unstable, and pose a serious hazard for all children.’”

Following the incident, the Prince Edward County Soccer Association anchored its nets. Soccer is played in the County four days a week on six fields by an average of 1000 children.

The Ontario Soccer Association reported that there are 430,000 soccer players in Ontario. Of this figure, 267,325 are between ages 5-14.

“This means that we are continuing to put our children at risk, and are increasingly jeopardizing the lives of young soccer players and others who are simply hanging out on the fields where these moveable goals are located,” Smith added.

Only one jurisdiction in Canada has soccer goal legislation. In 2016, Yukon implemented the Movable Soccer Goal Safety Act. The act ensures that movable soccer goals are anchored, and that inspections are conducted twice-a-year.

In addition, New York, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Illinois have enacted soccer goal legislation.

“Learning from past accidents is paramount in preventing future deaths. Diligent anchoring of portable soccer goal posts cannot be ignored, and Garrett’s Legacy Act will assist in meeting this requirement.”

The bill, co-sponsored by Kingston and the Islands Liberal MPP Sophie Kiwala, is set to be debated Dec. 7th.

 

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  1. Greg Horton says:

    It took Hockey a few years to realize that steel posts that don’t move pose a great danger to players. I would have hoped that soccer could have learned from that example

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