Soccer victim's family to get $2.25 mil.
May 21, 2005
BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Legal Affairs Reporter
The Greater Libertyville Soccer Association has
agreed to pay $2.25 million to the family of 6-year-old Zachary Tran, who was killed 1-1/2 years ago by a soccer goal post
that blew or fell over on him.
An attorney for the boy's family praised the soccer
association for its response to Zachary's death. The association no longer uses those goals, which had no counterbalance,
said attorney Shawn S. Kasserman of Corboy & Demetrio.
"They've done a pretty good job of trying to eliminate
the problem," Kasserman said.
The Vernon Hills Park District and American Playground
Corp. of Indiana, which continues to manufacture the 186-pound goal that fell on Zachary, remain defendants in the Tran family's
lawsuit in Lake County Circuit Court. The settlement the soccer association paid to the family excuses it from the suit.
Family 'on a mission'
Zachary Tran was a first-grader at Hawthorn Option
School in Vernon Hills. On Oct. 1, 2003, he arrived at practice for his team at New Century Park in Vernon Hills. Zachary
and another boy on his team were playing in the goal just before it fell, witnesses told investigators.
The 18-by-6-foot soccer goal was designed to be
anchored with up to four metal stakes, but those weren't in place that day, said Lake County Deputy Coroner Orlando Portillo.
The boy who was inside the goal with Zachary told
investigators that he wasn't hanging on the structure before it fell but didn't see if Zachary was, Portillo testified.
"He said he didn't have his hands on it," Portillo
Some said a gust of wind blew the goal over.
The movable goal had no counterbalance designed
into it, Kasserman said.
The structure broke Zachary's skull. He died of
a heart attack.
Tran was survived by a 9-year-old sister, and
his parents have since had another daughter, Kasserman said.
"Since Zachary's death, our family has set out
on a mission to create awareness and impact change across the country on making soccer goals safe," the family said in a written
statement. "We felt a lawsuit was the quickest way to create change and prevent additional deaths from these unsafe soccer
goals. Two other soccer deaths have occurred since Zach died."