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Friday, May 31, 2013

ADA Lawsuit Involving High School Football Player with ASD

The parents of a Brick Township High School placekicker with multi-symptom autism and other developmental disabilities filed a federal lawsuit today alleging the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletics Association violated their son’s civil rights by denying him a fifth year of eligibility.
The complaint against the NJSIAA, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in Trenton, claims Anthony Starego is entitled to play football this fall under the federal Americans with Disability [sic] Act (ADA), which states in part that reasonable accommodations must be made to include those with disabilities in interscholastic competition.
Starego’s attorney, Gary S. Mayerson, is the founding partner of New York City-based Mayerson & Associates, established 13 years ago as the nation’s first law firm dedicated to representing children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and related developmental disabilities.
A non-graded student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that addresses football, according to the Strarego family, Strarego is not enrolled in a particular grade. He is entitled under federal law until age 21 to a free and appropriate public education including non-academic and extracurricular services.
The complaint says Starego deserves special treatment through a limited one-year waiver as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA because he is an IEP student with a disability who would not otherwise be eligible to compete this fall.
Citing a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the PGA Tour could not lawfully deny disabled golfer Casey Martin the option to ride in a golf cart between shots, the complaint and petition also allege that the NJSIAA failed, as mandated by the high court’s decision, to consider Starego’s personal circumstances in deciding whether to accommodate his disability.