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Parent says soccer goal safety law not strong enough

A new law designed to make soccer goals safer in Arkansas isn't doing enough. That comes from legislators and the parent of a 9-year old killed by a falling soccer goal last year.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A new law designed to make soccer goals safer in Arkansas isn't doing enough. That comes from legislators and the parent of a 9-year old killed by a falling soccer goal last year.
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Jonathan Nelson, 9, wasn't even playing soccer when an unanchored goal tipped over in Bentonville and killed him last year at his elementary school.

His father Nathan Nelson crusaded for a state law to secure soccer goals. He got it in 2011. But he is back at the capitol on Thursday.

"The reality of this is I don't think it's fixed,” Nelson says. “What we've done is 50% of what I think needs to be done."

"Jonathan's Law" calls for the state to follow the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommendations for anchoring soccer goals. In some places, primarily city parks, the new law is working.

But the law has no money behind it which means the department of health has no inspectors checking soccer goal safety.

"How are you guaranteeing that all the goals that are out there are anchored? Who's inspecting? And who's responsible if somebody chooses not to," Nelson says.

State senator Cecile Bledsoe, (R-Rogers) chairs the Senate public health, welfare and labor committee. She says the law may need strengthening in the next legislative session in January.

"I'm ready to do something if this doesn't go far enough," Bledsoe says.

Nearly 18 months since he lost Jonathan, Nathan Nelson is still working to make soccer goals safer.

"I just have to keep reminding myself that all I'm trying to do is to keep this from happening to somebody else," Nelson says.

Right now Arkansas schools face no penalty for failing to follow the law.

The organization "Anchored for Safety" lists 37 deaths from improperly secured soccer goals since 1979 and another 56 serious injuries.
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