Disabled boy nearly sidelined from baseball team after complaints about his age status

October 24, 2012 5:34:44 PM PDT
A disabled child nearly sidelined from his pee-wee baseball team has caused a bit of a controversy in Pasadena.

Ashton Jones, 11, has been playing in a younger age group for several seasons. But recently an opposing team's complaint over Ashton's age prompted the league to take action.

Pasadena's pee wee baseball league plays their games at the city of Pasadena's Strawberry Park, and that's why the city got involved when the league started asking questions about a disabled player's age status.

In some ways, Ashton Jones is like any other 11-year-old boy.

"He's a normal kid," said Ashton's mom, Tiffany Palmer-Jones.

But in other ways, Ashton is different.

"He has Klippel-Feil syndrome which is a rare skeletal disease that has caused severe scoliosis," Palmer-Jones said.

Some of his vertebrae are fused, and so are two of his ribs. He's missing another rib.

Even though Ashton's mom says doctors once told her he wouldn't walk or play sports, six years ago she signed him up for Pasadena's pee wee baseball league where he's played with a team one level below his age ever since.

That is, until last week when Ashton's presence on an under-10 team suddenly caused a stir.

"We won by a large amount and so they were upset, and the rumor was that we stuck an 11-year-old stud onto our team," said

Someone complained, wanting Ashton kicked off the team and all the team's wins forfeited.

Ashton's mom and other team parents turned to Pasadena City Council Member Ornaldo Ybarra for help.

"I was a little concerned at the fact that it was city facilities as far as the park and they were going to prevent Ashton from playing, prevent him from playing with a handicap," said Councilman Ybarra.

The board voted Tuesday to let Ashton stay.

The pee wee league president declined a request for an on-camera interview, sending a statement that read in part "The letter received by the Pasadena Pee Wee League Board of Directors was based solely on a players age. The child's medical condition was only mentioned when addressing the coaches concern of why a child would be allowed to play down for his age group. Our intentions were never to not allow Ashton to play baseball but to simply address the issue of proper documentation and procedures."

But Ashton's mom disagrees.

"They were told that he had a disability and that did not change their mind," said Palmer-Jones.

Eyewitness News replied to the email from the pee wee league president asking why the league was concerned about proper documentation and procedures now after Ashton had registered and played for the league for six years. We have not yet heard back.

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