Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rule Keeps 20-Year-Old with Down Syndrome off Field

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rule Keeps 20-Year-Old with Down Syndrome off Field

Article excerpt

JUST ABOUT everybody wanted Gabriel Lane, a 20-year-old high school senior with Down syndrome, to play football with his beloved Wildcats of Greeley Central High. Everybody but the keepers of the rules.

On Thursday, Lane looked up in bewilderment at U.S. District Judge Zita Weinshienk, then buried his head in his hands and wept when she told him that he's just too old. She explained that her hands were tied by Colorado High School Activities Association rules. She added, "I hope, Gabriel, that you'll have a really good year. Things will happen to the football team because of your inspiration."

Lane, a 5-foot-3, 215-pounder, is honorary captain and plays tackle and guard in Wildcat scrimmages. The team wanted Lane to play a few downs in each game, said his mother, Sally, but, if Lane took the field, the team would be disqualified, "and that's not fair to the team." Lane's attorney, John Culver, sought a temporary restraining order, arguing that the state association had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires public accommodations for the handicapped. …

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