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Boy with Down syndrome kicked off little league baseball team

The Little League president said Cameron was told he can no longer take at bats in that division because it poses a safety risk to 7 to 10-year-olds.

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. — A Tampa Bay family says their son, who has Down syndrome, was suddenly kicked off his baseball team at the end of April.

Randy Cody, Cameron's dad said it came after a parent complained about safety because Cameron plays with kids younger than him.

According to Randy, Cameron has been playing with the Lakewood Ranch Little League since he was 7 years old. He just turned 13 in April and his parents said baseball is his greatest joy.

Randy Cody told 10 Tampa Bay every season the coaches evaluate Cameron and decide which division best suits his skills. This season they kept him in the minors division which is typically 7 to 10-year-olds. Despite being a bit older, Randy says Cameron isn't the biggest, fastest, or best player in the league. 

"He doesn't have the same dexterity as other kids," explained Randy who said his son is on a first grade intellectual level.

But on April 22, 2022, something amazing happened. Randy said Cameron hit a ball into right field. It was just hard enough, and Cameron ran just fast enough to get his first-ever in-the-park home run.

The fans on both sides went nuts. Randy said the pitcher's mom had tears in her eyes when she came over to hug the Cody family. Cameron's parents kept the ball and wrote the date on it.

Credit: 10 Tampa bay

"I've been waiting for something like this his entire baseball life because he doesn't ever do anything like this," Randy said.

But within minutes of the home run, a text from the Lakewood Ranch Little League President said, "We need to address Cam. He can't play minors anymore."

Credit: Randy Cody

Randy said his heart sunk. There were only two games left in the regular season. The team's first playoff game was Tuesday night. Cameron wasn't there and he doesn't understand why. His mom, Jeanne Cody said he keeps his uniform out just waiting to play.

Randy said it all started when another parent claimed Cameron was a safety liability for the other kids.

"If it's truly about safety, you'd have to take fifteen kids off the ballfield that hit harder than he does," Randy said.

President of the Lakewood Ranch Little League Doug Kovatch sent 10 Tampa Bay an e-mail saying:

Cameron was not told he can't play minors anymore.  He was told he can no longer take at bats in that division because it poses a safety risk against the 7-10 year old defenders. The Cody Family understands Cam is welcome to finish out the season on defense until a decision is made on the rules-change waiver they applied for last week. The league has fully supported this waiver and done everything within our power to facilitate it.  It has been passed to the district level and is currently in process.