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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Monday we introduced you to a special football player from Sampson County. Brett Bowden has Down Syndrome and has suited up for the Hobbton Wildcats the past two seasons.

Brett is going into his junior year at Hobbton, but he will not be able to play this season, because at 19, he is too old.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association says Brett can still lead the team onto the field, but only as a student manager or student coach. He will not be able to wear equipment.

“It’s always unfortunate when students are ineligible regardless of the criteria,” NCHSSA Deputy Commissioner Que Tucker said. “In this particular situation the criteria is that brett has exceeded the maximum age limit to play. This has nothing to do with the fact that he has Down Syndrome. The age rule is a state Board of Education rule that we strictly enforce.”

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