Autistic boy will be allowed back on his Little League team, against coach's wishes
POSTED: Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 2:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 2:34pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Bailey Robinson, 11, who has autism and epilepsy, will be allowed to play little league baseball games with kids his own age.
Bailey's coach originally said that he was concerned having Bailey play on the team because he could get hurt.
Coach Tim Frisbie said Bailey's motor skills aren't as developed as other kids he will play against at the 11 and 12 year old level.
"The coach's concerns are pretty justifiable," said Bailey's father Billy Shea on Thursday. "A coach and a director in a little league organization have every right to be concerned about the safety of a child, but there's such thing as taking things too far."
Even though little league officials asked Bailey's family not to talk with reporters anymore, they did in order to share how happy Bailey is to now be able to play ball.
There is a compromise, though: Bailey will wear a face mask and a chest plate to protect him from "impact injuries."
"Two pieces of equipment aren't going too make the possibility of an injury disappear," Shea said. "There are hundreds of thousands of kids a year playing baseball and were willing to take that risk. He's willing to take that risk. It's his decision. He wants to play and I'm not going to stop him."
Coach Frisbie went on to say "the parents were fine with it, and I don't really have a choice."
Frisbie also said he hopes Little League International, the governing body for local little leagues, makes an official statement about the situation.
A representative for Little League International's Pennsylvania headquarters said he didn't know about this case.
"If the player did have some sort of a malady, but wanted to play in an age appropriate division -- a local league couldn't deny that," said spokesperson Chris Downs.
Downs did say that as long as a player is not 12 years old, local leagues would be able to potentially drop a player down to a lower age group level if his or her abilities would be better suited there.
Downs later said there could potentially be something about the case somewhere within the organization that hasn't yet reached the headquarters.
Shea said he's just happy his son gets to keep doing what he loves to do.
"I just wish it could have been easier," said Shea.