Parents Of Disabled Athlete Respond To Feds' Ruling

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Andy Doren said he has the best seat in the house Friday night at Waverly High School's basketball game: in the press box.

"It's awesome," Doren said. "Watching the teams like dunking."

Doren is special needs and has been filming Waverly Warrior games for more than 10 years since he graduated, and he still manages the baseball team. It's what Doren prefers doing, but he'll never forget when the coach surprised him senior year. He got to play for three minutes with the team on the court.

"I didn't even know that I was going out there," Doren said.

He thinks everybody should get a chance like that, including special needs athletes. It's an idea the U.S. Department of Education agrees with now, calling sports a civil right. The feds announced Friday that schools can't exclude students from athletics based on disabilities, but Doren's mom says it's not that simple.

"You always wish they could, but I also look at sports as the ability of the kids, and I know he didn't have the ability to play," Jeanne Doren said.

Many of the parents at Friday's game were in favor of the move, but still had questions about how it would be implemented. Even coaches weren't sure what to make of it.

"The idea is great, it's just overall, how's that going to work, you know?" Waverly Basketball Coach Craig Fields said. "If you're playing for championships and things like that, or are we here to just appease people and that kind of thing? I don't know."

Andy's mom understands that view, and other parents will, too.

"When you're putting a high school athletic team out there, you need to have your best players out there," Andy's mom said. "It was something I didn't want to take a chance of him getting hurt, so I'd rather have him manage."

It might mean no jersey, but Doren doesn't mind.

"I love helping teams," Doren said.

And the teams love Andy, or "A-Dizzle" as they call him.

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