Friday, September 23, 2005


Hosting provided by FotoTime

When you see an amputee, most people tend to notice. And you wonder what happened and how they cope with their missing limb(s). You wonder how normal- or abnormal- their lives are due to their disability. Last weekend this topic was brought to the forefront in Ohio by a 17 year old kid.

Bobby Martin was born without legs due to a rare birth defect. His body never developed below his hips. Without thighs, doctors have been unable to fit him with prosthetics, so he developed the ability to get around on his hands instead. His mother encouraged him to do whatever he wanted, instead of sheltering him and being overly cautious. As a result, Bobby never saw his missing legs as a problem.

In junior high, he started wrestling and playing football. Now a senior at Colonel White High School in Dayton, Ohio, he's an active member of their varsity football team. Last Friday, Colonel White played Mount Healthy here in Cincinnati. The Mount Healthy coach prepared his team for the upcoming game, including informing them about Martin. He told them to treat him like any other player. After all, he is credited with sacking the quarterback in the first game this season. (sorry- that link takes registration, but it's a really cool article if you want to take the time to register with the Dayton Daily News)

However, at halftime Friday night, after Bobby had been in three plays, the officials decided it was illegal for Martin to be on the field with the rest of the team. His offense? He wasn't wearing the required uniform- which includes thigh pads, knee pads and cleats. Martin had this to say about their decision, "It's the first time in my life I ever felt like that...Everybody was looking at me, talking about what I didn't have. I felt like a clown. I hated it. I just wanted to know why it was different this game than all the rest."

MORONS. Where, exactly, is a legless kid supposed to wear thigh and knee pads or cleats? The officials figured that if Bobby got hurt under their watch, they would be held responsible for letting a handicapped player on the field. Although I can understand their concern, the officials should have discussed it with the coaches first. If they had, they would have learned both coaches support Bobby's desire to play, and that his "disability" was never an issue at games he's already played in.

Yesterday Ohio's high school athletics committee decided there is no reason Bobby can't play. What a triumph! Only a few days after being sidelined for the first time in his life, Bobby was given the official thumbs-up from the state and cleared for play.

Sometimes, unsavory moments in life result in sweet victory. Way to go, Bobby!


Post a Comment

<< Home