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Soccer goals, youth athletes safer in Pasco County following 10 News investigation

7:39 PM, Oct 23, 2012   |    comments
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PASCO COUNTY, Florida -- After a 10 News Investigation pointed out - for a third time - simple safety measures ignored on county fields, commissioners started working with staff members this week to crack down on heavy soccer goals being left unanchored.

In a series of stories about dangerous soccer goals across Tampa Bay, the 10 News Investigators found kids practicing under - and often swinging on - soccer goals, weighing hundreds of pounds, at Pasco County fields.  Despite easy access to anchors and sandbags, many coaches and county employees weren't utilizing them.

Spot checks revealed unsecured goals at countless other bay-area fields too, including in Polk County, where 18-year-old Corey Hawk was killed by a falling goal in 2007.

Tuesday, Pasco County Commissioners discussed new measures to force local soccer leagues to take responsibility for the goals, which include possible termination of their use agreements if goals aren't secured.

"We will also be visiting each of the soccer clubs at their next Board of Directors meetings," Pasco County Commissioner Henry Wilson told 10 News in an e-mail.  "If they have coaches that are non-compliant that they need to address it on an individual basis with repercussions for non-compliancy.

"We will also suggest that if the coach that is non-compliant is a paid coach, then they should hold the pay of the coach until they show they are compliant."

Wilson didn't address who would be responsible for the goals when leagues weren't using them; the 10 News investigations identified county workers often leaving goals unsecured after mowing the fields.

But the ultimatum to leagues is the first stern warning from the county since the problem was brought to the attention of some commissioners in January.

Find 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook or follow his updates on Twitter. Send your story tips to noah@wtsp.com.

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