"Last week goal posts fell onto a boy in Durban and killed him. Last year goal posts fell onto my son. He too did not survive. "
So began the heartbreaking letter of one Joburg-based dad, Dov Paluch, who shared the story of how his son, 14-year-old Hugo, had tragically lost his life while playing soccer at school.
Read Dov Paluch's letter here: "Goalposts fell onto my son and he did not survive": A dad starts a much-needed conversation around school sports safety
As we hoped, Dov's story has resonated with a number of our readers, some of whom have experienced a similar tragedy, while others pose some necessary questions regarding safety at schools.
Do you think schools are doing enough with regards to putting suitable safety protocol in place? Has anything similar happened to you or someone you know? What was done about it? Share your story with us by emailing to email@example.com and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.
Here's what our reader's had to say:
"This makes me both angry and sad"
"What an absolute tragedy... indeed no parent should have to bury a child especially if the death of that child could have been avoided!
To hear that this has happened before makes me both angry and sad.
There is a general apathy for health and safety. Yes, the Occupational Health and Safety Act governs health and safety in the workplace but in most cases, it is simply a tick-box exercise. No one does it because they want to do it for the health and safety of the people. They do the bare minimum because it has to be done.
In schools, the indemnity forms that you get before every field trip bears testimony to the fact that the schools refuse to take accountability for the health and safety of the kids. How often is equipment checked? How often do the educators go on training to deal with health, safety and wellness?
My child was robbed at the school gates. I pay exorbitant fees and when I asked for camera footage they advised that the cameras were not working and hadn't been for some time. Furthermore, they were aware of this modus operandi as it had previously happened to other kids in the school. Why was there no warning to the parents? Why was there no teachers at the gate to watch these kids?
I am so sorry for the loss of Hugo and Kiyan... may these preventable tragedies never happen again."
"My son's best friend Ronald also died from a goal post"
She continues: "...9 years old at the time can't remember if he was hanging on it when it fell on him. Was such a tragedy. .. my son was one of the little ones carrying his coffin in.... was very sad... At that time I thought it was a freak accident now it's seems to have increased."
"Someone should be held accountable"
She continues: "Someone should be held accountable. How many young lives need to be lost before someone sits up and pays attention. Shocking!! May these young boys RIP. My thoughts and prayers are with both families I cannot begin to imagine what they are going through."
"How many accidents need to happen before something is done?"
"This is outrageous! How many accidents need to happen before something is done about it? How many lives need to be lost before someone will stand up and take action?"
"The Department in charge of Education gets away with doing much of nothing"
"Rugby SA has a much different outlook"
He continues: "Each coach, assistant coach/parent(that helps to coach), and referee must do the Boksmart course every 2 years. Every year referees must write their rule exams, do a fitness test and be practically evaluated. Rugby rules also get adjusted each year for player safety. I think Rugby SA and World Rugby are doing a great job in protecting players, spectators and sports grounds."
Has anything similar happened to you or someone you know? What was done about it? Share your story with us by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.
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