Disabled Chesterfield athlete disqualified from youth league - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Disabled Chesterfield athlete disqualified from youth league


A Clover Hill High student only has one hand - but still thrives as a basketball player! That is, until now. His family is calling for changes after he was just kicked off a youth sports league.

Walker says he's been fighting the odds his whole life and now that another obstacle has come his way, he says he won't let it get the best of him.

Walker may only have one hand, but he can't recall a day he hasn't played basketball.

"I just try to think of myself as equal to everybody else," he said.

But this year he noticed, he wasn't getting much playing time, so he quit the school team and joined a community league.

"I supported that decision of course. He said ‘mom, this is my last year. I just want to play ball'," said his mother Angela Gongloff.

So he changed teams.

"I played a lot more then," he said.

In fact, the last game he played, his team won. Walker scored 18 points. But then came the news. The opposing team's coach did some digging and learned Walker recently played for Clover Hill. According to league rules - playing for a school team in the same season makes a player ineligible.

"He's crushed. He only wants to play basketball. That's what he loves to do," Gongloff said.

Robert Hodges, President of the Chesterfield Basketball League stands by the rule and says any games the league played with Walker may have to be forfeited.

"I can go to the games. I can sit on the bench and help. I can go to the practices but I just can't play. I can't wear my uniform," Walker said.

That's what hurts the most.

"We didn't do anything malicious to try to stack a team or anything like that. Everything needs to be on a case by case basis," his mom insisted.

But the teen is just trying to accept the unexpected reality.

"It is the rules so I can't really do anything about it. I would hope there was another rule that you could try to fight it but you can't really do anything about it," he said.

Through it all, Walker is still keeping a positive attitude. He says he still plans to support his former teammates by attending their games. Now, he's getting to play basketball with a church league.

Hodges says players who come from high school teams get more practice and generally have more advanced skills than those on the community league. He says accepting former high school players could put others with the league at a disadvantage.

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