Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pro football coach wants special athlete on his team


A high school football player with Down syndrome is being offered the chance of a lifetime.
Brett Bowden has lead 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.


  1. This is WONDERFUL! Thank goodness there are people out there with as much heart as Brett. Thank you so much, James Terry!

  2. That's a good Coach!

  3. This is AMAZING! Thank you so much James Terry! You are AWESOME...Unlike some of these coaches...My 10 old wanted to play baseball and signed up for rec ball and was treated like an outcast because he had only played one year and the other kids (most of them coaches kids) were thought to be better and top players..His feelings were really hurt and he has decided against sports. I think it is a shame. It is supposed to be fun for the kids out there. Thank you again for making a difference.

  4. James Terry you are great you are making one boys dream come true keep it up because everyone should have the chance to live there DREAMS!!!

  5. Go James Terry!!! You will be blessed!!! The world needs more people like you!!!

  6. This is Amazing!! There needs to be so many more like you out there..... Willing to give our guys and girls an chance at all we get to do!!!

  7. It is nice to know there are good hearted people still on this earth!! You are wonderful and these kids are amazing with a lesson to teach, If we will all do our part and listen!!!

  8. James Terry you are a very good man! Like you said this game means more to Brett than anything and you are making a huge difference in a special young mans heart. I am sure Brett and his family will forever be grateful that you came into thier lives. Thanks so much.

  9. I do hope to be proven wrong, this point it seems doubtful.

    "Coach" Terry and the Reno Barons.. The Reno Barons folded well before "Coach" Terry made this offer. They closed their season down after not being able to pay their players. Terry also managed to get an unsavory reputation in Reno, to go with the already poor reputation he had already achieved in the rest of the sports world.

    I wish somebody would do some digging and try to figure out just what the heck is going on.

  10. I doubt that Brett would understand starting out with a new team. It is the Wildcats that he loves. It is a nice gesture from Coach Terry but his high school needs to let him dress out and not play.

  11. This gesture is tremendous. Thank you so much for letting this boy continue his passion! :D

  12. WOW God is great!!!!!!!!!!!!! how wonderful for this young man. and it is people like this coach that is helping the world realize that these special children have FEELINGS! thank you