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Bill aims to anchor soccer goals

Arkansas lawmakers hear the plea of a Bentonville father whose son died when a soccer goal fell on him.
BRYANT, AR - Arkansas lawmakers hear the plea of a Bentonville father whose son died when a soccer goal fell on him.

Nathan Nelson's 9-year-old son, Jonathan, is the inspiration for a bill the House Public Health Committee voted unanimously for Thursday. Nelson says soccer goals that aren't anchored down are all too common, and he wants it fixed so the same tragedy won't happen to another family.

The Bryant Soccer Club has 560 kids this season and there's a heightened awareness of goal safety. Club Director of Referees, Bob Hill, says they've been enforcing anchoring goals for years. "If the goals aren't anchored the game goes not go on. The referees won't do it."

Bryant coaches and parents agree anything to keep kids safe they support. That's what House Bill 1810, or Jonathan's Law, would do. The bill would require moveable goals be anchored down with screw pegs or sandbagged and permanent goals cemented to keep from falling over.

Coach Greg King says kids climb on equipment all the time.
"Every time you've got a bar stretched out on the field a kid wants to hang on it. It's a natural thing kids want to do." That's why King and the other coaches and parents keep a close watch on the field. But sponsors of the bill hope to make the game even safer, and are asking everyone to play on the same team.

State Representative Donna Hutchinson wants not just club teams, but schools to be involved. "Please go out and check your school to make sure the soccer goal is anchored down so another child isn't injured from a goal falling over."

If the bill becomes law, any new goals purchased would have to meet new safety requirements. The bill now goes to the full house for a vote.
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