WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A high school football player with Down syndrome is being offered the chance of a lifetime.
Brett Bowden has led the Hobbton Wildcats onto the field religiously for two seasons, even scoring a touchdown in a game. But on Friday night, his helmet sits on a bench and his shoulder pads are put away.
“That’s all he knows,” said Pat Bowden, Brett’s mother. “That’s all he’s ever done. And to take that away? It’s different. It’s like he’s not a player anymore.”
Bowden will be a junior this year at Hobbton High School in Sampson County , but he will not be able to play this season, because at 19, he is too old.
James terry, coach of the arena football team, the Reno Barons, saw Bowden’s story online. He says it really upset him and wants to give Bowden a chance to be a part of his team.
“The only qualifications in pro football is that you are 18 years of age or older,” Reno Baron head coach James Terry said. “We’re going to sign him. We’ll sign him to a pro football, professional football contract to play at our level which is about AAA.”
The Sampson County School District announced yesterday Brett can still dress out and lead the team onto the field, but he will not be allowed to play.
Terry says he wants to give Brett a chance to be a part of his team.
“I have a real opportunity here in the position that I am in football to help somebody who loves the game as much as I do, to really help a family and a young man who can get more from this than I ever did,” Terry said. “I played professionally and collegiately, and I envy this kid, because I think he gets more out of being part of this team than any of us could possibly imagine.”
Pat Bowden says she could not believe terry’s offer.
“To even offer that from a little town that we’re from, just a little tiny hole,” said Pat Bowden. “I mean words can’t describe it.”
Brett’s story has garnered some major attention. A Facebook page that his sister helped organize now has more than 60,000 fans. However, Brett doesn’t seem to care about the attention. He wants nothing more than to be a Wildcat.