HOWELL — A 6-year-old girl was hurt by an falling soccer goal at a Monmouth County middle school Wednesday.

Howell Police said the net fell over at Howell Middle School North onto the girl. She was hospitalized with serious injuries at Jersey Shore University Medical Center according to police spokesman Detective Sgt. Christian Antunez.

Antunez said the circumstances around why the net fell remain under investigation.

Witness Mark Mastrojohn on his Facebook page said the  a gust of wind picked up the goal and blew it girl who was playing on the net, which he said was possibly anchored only by sandbags, a common practice in many youth soccer leagues.

The United States Product Safety Commission has warned for years soccer goals should be properly anchored to prevent them from tipping over, especially older nets made by individuals. Sandbags are one recommended way to anchor them indoors according to guidelines issued in 1995. Other ways to anchor a soccer goal include:

  • Auger-style anchors that are screwed into the ground.
  • Semipermanent anchors, which require a permanently secured base that is buried underground combined with the use of tethers or bolts to secure the goal.
  • Peg, stake or j-hook style anchors that are driven into the ground.

According to the, 57 people were injured and 39 killed by falling soccer nets between 1979 and 2015.

A 13-year-old boy "chinning" on a cross bar in an Newark park in 1988 was fractured two ribs and damaged his spleen and liver when the goal came down on him.

In 2007, a gust of wind blew an unanchored goal onto a male on the field at Rutgers University in Piscataway.


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