RYE, N.Y. -- Legislation that got kick-started by a serious soccer accident in Rye Brook has become state law.
Assemblyman Steve Otis, D-Rye, announced Monday that his bill mandating new safety guidelines for movable soccer goals was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday.
This lurking danger was all too real for a Rye Brook family whose 8-year-old daughter suffered a crushed femur when a portable soccer goal was blown over in June 2002.
“The surgeon said it was as if a sledgehammer came down on my daughter’s leg with full force,” John Parisi recalled. “If the soccer goal had hit her head, the accident would not have been survivable.”
Julia Parisi eventually made a full recovery, but only after enduring several surgeries and months of painful physical therapy.
“I am very grateful to Assemblyman Otis and his team for all of their efforts and, of course, to Governor Cuomo for signing the bill into law,” Parisi said. “This law will protect children from serious injury and it will save the lives of children.”
“Improperly secured soccer goals pose a significant, yet preventable, danger to the thousands of New York children and teens who take to our soccer fields each year,” Otis said in a press statement. “By setting compulsory statewide standards for properly anchoring portable soccer goals, this law will save lives and prevent devastating injuries to young athletes.”
Unsecured portable soccer goals have been responsible for at least 36 deaths and 56 injuries nationwide between 1979 to 2011, according to the watchdog group, Anchored for Safety . Emergency rooms report up to 200 serious injuries annually from soccer goal accidents. Weighing 180 to 400 pounds, top-heavy soccer goals can be blown over by a gust of wind or toppled by children playing on them. An uneven playing surface also can cause a soccer goal to tip over.
Otis said compliance with the new law “will not impose significant costs on local municipalities or other entities running youth soccer programs, as sandbags, stakes, augers and otherwise easily accessible and inexpensive hardware can be used to secure portable soccer goals.” The law will impose penalties for failing to properly secure a portable soccer goal in accordance with the state regulations.