Little League tells teen with Albinism he can't play

UPDATE (7/2): A decision was made by Little League International that allowed a yellow ball to be used. A spokesperson told the Associated Press that the ball was used in both games.

A budding baseball star in Detroit has been forced off the mound because of his disability. That same disability is something that most other teams have okay'd special provisions to allow him to play.

Ryan Huizdos is just 13 years old. He was born with a congenital condition known as albinism. People with the condition don't produce pigment, which goes beyond fair skin and blond hair. His skin is also very sensitive to the sun and he burns easily. But the thing that's holding him off the diamond is his visual impairment.

His impairment hasn't stopped him from playing the game he loves; he just does it with a yellow baseball.

"It helps me because of the contrast with the white ball, I can't see it until it's (right here). With the yellow ball, I can see it right out of the pitcher's hand so I have more time to react to swing or get out of the way," Ryan said.

He only needs the yellow baseball when he bats and, dating back to his T-ball days in Grosse Pointe Woods when he was just 6, there's never been a problem with the yellow baseball. In fact, it helped make him feel like everyone else on the field.

"It makes me feel really good to know that even know though I have a disability, I can still play like everyone else. I can still feel normal and fit in."

Ryan and the league have fit together just fine. At least, until Ryan wanted to play a tournament sanctioned by the National Little League. In a letter to Ryan's coach, the national Little League said it was unable to accommodate Ryan, because it didn't have any yellow baseballs.  

"They do not have an approved yellow ball because there rules are strict," his mom Kelly said. "It's supposedly a different model number. We cannot find a difference in it."

Is playing with a yellow ball a problem? His teammates don't think so.

"It takes like 10 seconds to switch the ball because the umpire carries it in his bag. He's just got to get it out and throw it to the pitcher and throw the white ball in and play. It's pretty easy," Brett Abke said. 

Ryan says it's not cheating because it doesn't give him an unfair advantage. instead, it gets him to the level as everyone else.

Kelly says they have sent paperwork to the US Attorney's Office asking to force an accommodation. The National Little League is sticking by its decision.

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