After two years playing on the football team, one high school junior with Down syndrome will be benched this fall — and it’s all because of his age.

Brett Bowden has a special role on the Hobbton High School football team in Sampson County, N.C., leading the players onto the field before every game. Though he often cheers from the sidelines, suited up in full uniform, he has scored one touchdown.

It doesn’t look like he’ll get the chance to score again, however. Even though Bowden is eligible to attend public school under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, officials at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association now say that Bowden is too old to be part of the team because he’s 19.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

He can continue to participate as a student manager or coach but not as a player, they said.

Bowden’s family isn’t taking the news lying down. They set up a Facebook page called “Let Brett Bowden Play,” which now boasts over 50,000 supporters.

So far, however, state sports officials have not been swayed, saying that they cannot alter eligibility requirements on an individual basis regardless of the circumstances, reports WWAY, the Wilmington, N.C. ABC affiliate. To read more click here.