Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Legal Week Day 3: Gregory and Mary Ellias, Administrators of the Estate of Hayden Ellias, deceased vs. Porter Athletic Equipment Company, et. al.

While the particular case is tragic and long settled, this story is heartbreaking and when I first reported on it has continued to captured my thoughts and feelings on the topic to this very day.

Sadly, unsecured goals are a very serious and continuing problem world wide. To date, in the US and Canada since 1979 there have been a minimum of (39) deaths and (57) injuries (source).

Not interesting nor surprising is when I last wrote about this about a year ago, the title of my article was, 38 Dead Children; 56 More Injured.

Notice something?

Yes ... there have been more deaths and reported injuries from just a year ago.

Recall Law I where goals must be securely anchored to the ground.

No excuses folks, just do it. It's quick, it's easy, and will save a life.

Consider the alternative. In additional to a lifetime of regret and emotional trauma knowing you may have stopped a life from being lost or forever altered, there is little doubt in my mind in addition to that emotional burden, you will almost certainly be looking at being named as a co-defendant in a civil suit where you as a referee have an *affirmative duty* to make sure the field is safe and goals are safely anchored.

Save a life.

Save yourself the hassle.

Check the nets and don't play unless they are safe.


  1. PK, I completely agree with you and I see too many referees still failing in this most basic responsibility. It was only a couple of years ago that I was up on the north shore doing a maintenance assessment for a State Referee in a men's D1 match and this happened. It was a new turf field and the crew did not ensure that the goals were secured. Early in the second half, play had just left the goal area following a keeper save, and everyone had moved out, and a gust of wind blew the goal over into the pitch. The most remarkable thing was the way EVERYTHING JUST STOPPED! All of the players just stopped and stared back at the goal...they knew, suddenly, what could have happened and how close it was! The very first thing that an attorney is going to ask the referee once s/he is under oath is to ask him/her to read the last paragraph of Law 1, entitled "Safety"...and from that point on, the plaintiff will own the referee's house, savings, future earnings, etc. Secure those goals, please!!!

    1. Thanks for the note Anon and thanks for reading!

      You bring up an interesting point in your story ...

      Should an assessor intervene if at the match in an official capacity in such a case?

      In either event (an assessor intervening or not) clearly the referee would have to be reminded about the critical point in Law I but should the assessor act in such a case. Another relevant question may be, does an assessor have an affirmative duty to act in such a case?

      I'm going to duck that question for now and do some legwork on same before I offer an opinion, but, as a common sense matter, for me, I would act and get the nets safe before beginning.

      An interesting twist to a problem.

      I do agree with you 100% and for my part will continue to remind folks at every turn to check those nets.

      Thanks for reading,