League Won’t Let Albino Kid Wear Tinted Shield Just Cuz

620wtmj_091609cooneyfootballGraham Bartunek played football for several years in Kansas City without a problem but when his family moved to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin the Parks and Recreation Department started giving him fits. The 12-year-old has albinism which also has made him partially blind and makes it dangerous for him to be in direct sunlight. Where his old league allowed him to wear a tinted face shield, the new one is refusing to allow it.

“I was really mad and upset because the face shield really helps me and makes it hard to play without it,” Graham said.

The officials say that the shield violates federal safety rules which require a player’s eyes to be showing. However, like in the NFL, with a doctor’s note justifying it it shouldn’t be an issue.

“I just don’t understand why they won’t allow it. It’s beyond me,” Graham’s father Paul said. “The face shields are allowed in football. The NFL allows them. We have a doctor’s note to justify the need. It’s about vision. It’s about sun exposure,” Paul said. “He’s very sensitive to the sun, and we’re looking to get some additional protection. A clear visor is a legal device. We’re just asking for a reasonable accommodation to add a tint to a legal device.”

Currently Graham has been wearing sunglasses during the games, but they fall off constantly and don’t protect his skin which is just as big an issue as his eyes. But, the young lad has had a good attitude throughout insisting that he will do whatever he has to in order to stay on the team and the field.

“The rule book clearly states that there can be reasonable exceptions made for student athletes with disabilities.” Paul said, “I asked [the officials], ‘what would be more reasonable to ask for?'”

Hey, Oconomowoc stop being dicks to a 12-year-old! The kid just wants to play the game and should be able to do so; so he wears a tinted shield, big deal, oh is it better instead that he’s in pain and danger by not wearing it? Arg, I can’t stand stupid people.

[620 WTMJ]

1 Response to “League Won’t Let Albino Kid Wear Tinted Shield Just Cuz”

  1. October 21, 2009 at 1:58 am

    Since the team is in Packerland, maybe someone should contact the Packers’ Jerry Fontenot. He has a second cousin who plays for the Chicago Cubs, who play a lot of day games. The little guy is an albino, with the usual vision issues. The Cubs also have another player, David Patton, a pitcher, who is an albino. Maybe Mike Fontenot could either help the kid, or intervene in his behalf.

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