Ever since 3rd grade, Bryzon Austin has loved playing football. And, ever since 3rd grade, Bryzon has worn a special tinted visor to prevent him from getting migraines.
That is, until this year.
Austin is a running back for Vernon Middle School, which plays in the University Interscholastic League. The UIL plays by NCAA football rules, which state "eye shields must be clear, not tinted, and made from molded or rigid material." It also says that "no medical exceptions are allowed."
The UIL rules still allow for a waiver of disability, which Bryzon's father says he filled out. Brent Austin says the Vernon ISD hasn't sent the paperwork off to be processed by the UIL.
"If something so easy as wearing a visor and doing paperwork couple help him out, improve him and keep him from getting this," Austin says, "it shouldn't be that big of deal."
Mark Bateman, the sports director for the Vernon ISD, said in an email that they are just following the UIL guidelines for tinted visors.
Vernon's superintendent, Tom Woody, who needs to sign the request for accommodation, says that at this time, Bryzon's condition doesn't qualify as a disability that substantially limits him on the field, and as a result, didn't send in the form.
When asked why not let the UIL decide if Austin is eligible, Woody said that they could do that, but its not what the form is asking for.
One of the reasons that the UIL gives to why tinted visors are not allowed is that if a player suffered a head injury, officials and coaches would need to be able to see their eyes in order to determine if the player has a concussion. Bryzon's eyes were visible through the visor, even at a considerable distance away.
As for Brent Austin, he wants to raise awareness about this issue, hoping that someone will take the initiative to change the rules.
"I want my son to be happy, I want him to be able to go to practice and play games in a sport that he loves to do, I just want him to be able to go out and do it with no problems, he said."