Special needs teen kicked off high school basketball team - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Special needs teen kicked off high school basketball team

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Anthony Manno and the Brush High School basketball team Anthony Manno and the Brush High School basketball team

Anthony Manno loves playing basketball and the 19 year old's got some moves!

Manno didn't make his the Brush High School basketball team as a player, but he did hold the title of team manager last year running for towels, balls and water.

In fact, Anthony, who has Down Syndrome, was looking forward to helping out again this year, his senior year, but an email from the coach said he wasn't needed.

"Said that Anthony became a handful last year, and that even though the boys had fun with him, there was no place for him on the team," explains Anna Marie Koval, Anthony's Mom.

Anthony was devastated.

"He did cry. Then he was angry, but as my mom once told me - God rest her soul - It's not the children you have to worry about. It's going to be the adults," adds Koval.

Anna Marie Koval says she had only ever been told Anthony was doing great on the team - except for that one time.

"He was flirting with the cheerleaders, so mom and brother showed up at the game and we made sure he was where he needed to be and it was never an issue after that."

Word got around that Anthony was kicked off the team, and now suddenly the coach has had a change of heart.  But Koval now says she doesn't trust that her son will be treated well.  She wanted to say this to the coach:

"Open your mind. Open your heart, and give a few minutes of your day to be compassionate so that another family won't have to feel like they are being shut out."

Calls to Brush High School officials for comment were not returned.

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