OBJECTIVE: A falling soccer goalpost is associated with the potential risk of serious injury that can sometimes even be fatal. The aim of the study was to analyse the extent of the problem in Denmark and focus on the mechanism of injury and prevention. METHODS: Data were analysed for the period 1989-1997 from the European Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System, which is an electronic register of the injuries seen in the casualty departments of the hospitals of five selected cities in Denmark representing 14% of the Danish population; in addition, fatal accidents in the whole of Denmark since 1981 were examined. Forty two injured persons were interviewed about the circumstances of the accident. Attempts were made to estimate the proportion of goalposts secured by counterweight in the five different regions, compared with the proportion secured with ground stakes and those that were unsecured, by analysing data from the largest producers of goalposts in Denmark. RESULTS: In the period 1981-1988, two fatal accidents were recorded. In the period 1989-1997, 117 people were injured by a falling goalpost; six of the injuries required hospitalisation. Some 88% of the injured were under the age of 15. In a telephone interview with 42 of the injured, 50% stated that the goalpost fell because someone was hanging on the crossbar. Comparing the five different regions with respect to the proportion of goalposts secured by counterweight and the number of accidents, the following relation was found. Areas in which a high percentage of the goalposts were secured by a counterweight correlated inversely with a high number of accidents (r = -0.9; p = 0.04). CONCLUSION: Soccer is a widely played sport and it is important to be aware that accidents caused by falling goalposts can occur and that they presumably can be prevented by proper use of goalposts, by using secure goalposts, and by securing old goalposts with a counterweight.
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