TA shuts school sports grounds after teen's death

15-year-old killed when basketball rim collapses on him, raising concerns about the safety of other basketball courts.

Basketball generic 370 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Basketball generic 370
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
The Tel Aviv Municipality shut down all school basketball courts on Wednesday, a day after Alon Ronen, 15, was killed when a basketball pole he swung on collapsed in north Tel Aviv.
“We are checking the circumstances of what took place,” a Tel Aviv police spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post.
Ronen’s family has slammed the municipality, saying that criminal negligence allowed the basketball pole to deteriorate to an unsafe level.
The tragic accident raised concerns about the safety of other basketball courts, prompting Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai to send out an order to keep the courts closed until safety experts complete an inspection of every pole location.
“The municipality will cooperate and assist the police in investigating this tragedy,” city hall said in a statement.
An external committee of safety experts is being assembled to examine the basketball poles.
City council member Reuven Ladianski however criticized the move to close all courts.
“This is no more than a hysterical and uneducated response. There are hundreds of basketball courts and playgrounds across neighborhoods. The municipality should now check each one with its operations staff,” he said.
According to the Standards Institution of Israel, there are between 7,000 and 8,000 basketball courts in Israel, and 5,000 of them require safety inspections and possible maintenance.
In Tuesday’s accident, the pole collapsed on Ronen’s head before horrified friends. Neighbors rushed out and tried to provide first aid until paramedics arrived on the scene. Attempts to revive the teenager failed, and paramedics eventually pronounced him dead.