OT-Downs Syndrome player too old for HS football team

Submitted by white_pony_rocks on August 10th, 2011 at 4:53 PM

He is the link for a crappy but awesome story about a HS football player with downs syndrome who the NCHSAA won't even let practice with the team or wear pads during games because he is 19 years old.  I understand not letting him on the field anymore during official games even if the touchdowns he scored didnt affect the outcome of the game, but this is way too harsh.    I just think more people need to be aware of this story.  Plus I have to give the school credit on their awesome taste in uniforms.




August 10th, 2011 at 5:06 PM ^

What kind of school has a rule that 19 year olds can't play sports?  If your parents hold you home from kindergarden and you have an early birthday you turn 19 during your senior year. Stupid rule.

I also kind of feel like the school is using this kid as a mascot while telling him he's a football player (see the touchdown after every game).  I kind of have mixed feelings on what appears to be a premediated and organized delusion of the kid.


August 10th, 2011 at 6:16 PM ^

my 23 year old brother has downs and when he was in high school he was manager for the football and bball teams, he never played or practiced (moms doing, not MHSAA rules) but he was part of the team and really enjoyed it and felt like he was part of something.  so no, this school isnt using him as a mascot, the kid loves it and when he is done with school he wont be able to have these kinds of experiences and interactions

Bo Knows

August 10th, 2011 at 5:28 PM ^

Very unfortuneate that he won't be allowed to suit up anymore, however I know here in Michigan the age rule is that an athlete must be no older than 18 on the first day of practice of that particular sport.  So in the long run isn't it better for Brett to hold up to all the same rules as the rest of us?  I know I'll probably get some flack for that comment...


August 11th, 2011 at 12:01 AM ^

im more of a fan of the around the fur sound.  adrenaline lacks sound cohesion to me, im not talking about production quality but the songs on that album seem somewhat fragmented and lost, disconnected even.  plus around the fur just rocks with songs like my own summer, around the fur, and be quiet and drive (and the album cover was better)


August 10th, 2011 at 5:54 PM ^

I have a step-son with Downs, one of the things that they typically rely on is having a routine. So if this kids routine is to run out onto the field and stretch with the team during warm-ups etc...He will really really want to do this. No amount of explaining the rules will make it any easier. I see no problem bending the rule in a case such as this, clearly the rule was not written with him in mind, we should not interpret rules so narrowly.


Kinda Blue

August 10th, 2011 at 6:56 PM ^

Seems like a potential violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Letting the kid play beyond the age 19 would seem like a reasonable accomodation for what can reasonably be described as slower rate of development than a teenager without downs.


August 10th, 2011 at 7:07 PM ^

I understand the rule, I was just a little annoyed at a quote by a NCHSAA board member that said "theres nothing we can do".  What does he mean theres nothing that can be done?  Did Moses come down from a hilltop with the word of God saying no 19 year old shall ever put on high school football pads for any reason whatsover?

There has to be some way they can make an exception and let the kid at least practice.  I understand trying to avoid dilution of the rule, but it really seems like someone can create an exception in an extraordinary case.  Especially since helping this kid out would clearly suport and promote the goals of youth sports.


August 10th, 2011 at 9:27 PM ^

I can't endorse the idea of allowing someone to break rules simply because they are handicapped. Maybe the rule should be changed, maybe there should be an exception. Personally I think sports have rules for a reason. They would be a hobby if they didn't have rules... He or she can play football at the park or in their backyard like every other 19 year old that isn't talented enough to play at the next level... even though I wish it was different because I REALLY want to get back on the field!!!


August 11th, 2011 at 8:20 AM ^

I hate bureaucracies. Perfect example of the injustice they create. We had special needs kids on my football and lacrosse teams in HS. Nothing made us happier than to see them get on the field when we were blowing someone out.