Student with Down Syndrome Fights to Stay in School Sports

A high-school junior with Down syndrome, who has played on his school's basketball and football teams, may have to sit on the sidelines for his senior year because he has turned 19 and now violates the maximum age allowed by the school district.

According to the constitution of the Michigan High School Athletic League, students who turn 19 before September 1 are not allowed to compete in sports. The rule is intended to prevent the possibility of injury or competitive advantage from an older more developed athlete playing against younger students.

For the past two years Eric's parents, with the support of the Ishpeming High School District have tried to get the rule changed so Eric can play during his senior year.

But a committee with the Michigan High School Athletic Association has refused two proposals which would allow kids like Eric to participate.

James Derocher is the president of that committee says "our members have to change the constitution and at this point in time they've told us 'no.' "

Derocher says one of the concerns is that if they let Eric play, other 19-year-olds may come along in the future and claim a disability for a competitive advantage.

Image: Football, via Shutterstock.

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