Queen’s to make additional inspections of soccer nets in light of recent tragedy

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Napanee teen killed by soccer net, prompts Kingston and Queen’s to investigate net safety 

Queen's soccer net.

Queen’s will be inspecting their soccer nets following the tragic death of a 15-year old Kingston resident in May.

On May 12, 15-year-old Garrett Mills was doing chin-ups on the crossbar of a soccer net in Napanee when it tipped over and fell on the left side of his head, crushing the teen’s skull and killing him instantly.

According to an interview between father Dave Mills and CBC News on May 30, Garrett had been hanging out with his best friend, Josh Henderson and his girlfriend Joanna Holtz, at the King Street Park soccer field in Napanee when the incident occurred. The goal post, which is estimated to weigh between 180 to 200 pounds, wasn’t anchored to the ground when it fell on him. 

In the interview, Mills’s father expressed his anger and frustration over the death of his son. Despite similar incidents having occurred in the past, Mills said Ontario hasn’t required nets to be securely anchored to the ground when in use. 

“The death was so needless,” Mills told CBC News. “It didn’t have to happen.” 

According to CBC News, the net was of an older top-heavy model and thus has the potential to cause harm if used while not secured to the ground. 

The Greater Napanee Soccer Club stated in CBC News that the goal post wasn’t anchored down because the soccer season had yet to start, and the field was unusable due to rain the previous week. 

Mills wrote a Facebook post detailing what happened to his son and urged people to be aware of the risk associated with improperly secured nets. His post has been shared upwards of 16,700 times and, true to form, seems to have prompted the community to take action. 

Following suit with the City of Kingston and Limestone District School Board, Queen’s University will be running extra inspections to ensure the safety of all its public soccer nets, as several non-anchored nets are currently in use on campus. 

In an email to The Journal, Acting Executive Director of Athletics and Recreation Jeff Downie said, “Queen’s has full-time maintenance staff on our fields who regularly inspect all of our facilities and equipment.” 

“[H]owever, in light of the recent tragedy in Napanee, we will be making additional inspections of all equipment used on our fields,” Downie wrote.  

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