Local News

Falling soccer goal kills Sampson County boy, 9

Posted January 12, 2012

— A third-grader died Sunday after a soccer goal fell on his head in Sampson County, at 607 Mt. Olive Drive in Newton Grove.

Maria Escalera says her son, Juan Escalera, 9, was visiting his cousins and decided to play soccer after church.

“My husband said that it happened in less than 2 minutes,” Escalera said, adding that the goal post’s metal bars were not secured. “They yelled and screamed that something had happened to my son, that the goal thing had fallen on top of his head."

Juan died of brain trauma at a local hospital.

“Soccer was one of his favorite sports,” Escalera said. “Only God knows why he took him that way from me."

It’s unclear what caused the goal to fall.

“I mean, it still doesn’t seem right to us. I mean, because the pipes are so heavy. My brother-in-law tried to pick it up, and he couldn’t pick it up himself,” Escalera said. “There are kids who love soccer … and they need to make sure everything is secured correctly.”

Portable soccer goals, which can weigh up to 500 pounds, have killed 36 people in the U.S. since 1979, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Hundreds more have been seriously injured. Many of the cases involved head injuries and often happened when someone was climbing or hanging from the bars.

Maria Escalera Soccer goal kills Sampson County boy

Goals are supposed to be held down with sand bags or stakes, and referees are required to check that they are before every game.


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  • kimsstressed Jan 13, 2012

    Let me try this again. I don't know what possibly could be wrong with my first comment...
    Prayers out to the family. I've been a soccer mom for going on 7 years now.. I posted this article to my facebook page and encourage others to do the same. Maybe if raising awareness to churches, schools, clubs, etc can prevent this from happening this child wouldn't have died in vain.

  • Zoey0815 Jan 13, 2012

    autismawareness - you should be ashamed of yourself for making such an inflammatory, rude, disgraceful comment. And by the way, why don't you try and use the shift key when you type? I guess it's called laziness!

  • awood2 Jan 13, 2012

    Never heard of such a thing happening. Thoughts and prayers are with the family

  • chattycat Jan 13, 2012

    RIP little Juan. So, so sad. Thoughts and prayers for his family.

  • djofraleigh Jan 12, 2012

    there needs to be rods projecting on the ground out front...

  • topfan4unc Jan 12, 2012

    This is so sad and Heaven now has a beautiful little angel. THoughts and prayers with this family.

  • VT1994Hokie Jan 12, 2012

    One of the years worst stories. It hurts my heart for this little child and his loved ones. God bless all of these people.

  • mmtlash Jan 12, 2012

    :-( Thoughts are with the family

  • judithfergerson Jan 12, 2012

    so sad for the family - prayers are needed for sure

  • yesimagirl Jan 12, 2012

    That is so sad. NCYSA has had an alert on their web site for several years now imploring all its organizations to secure the goals. FVAA is pretty diligent about it, but it's so scary to see them topple over. The kids just love to hang on them. In the older ages, the refs won't even start a game unless the goals are secure...