Huffpost Parents

Florida Boy, 6, 'Too Fat' To Play Football?

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A Florida mom is angry after a football league rejected her 6-year-old son from the team because he did not meet the league's weight requirement.

Glenda Hernandez of Putnam County, Fla., says her son, Michael, was crushed when he was told he was 20 pounds overweight at the annual Pop Warner Little Scholars football weigh-in, according to Jacksonville station WJXT. Days earlier, a doctor had signed off on his physical, which she said wouldn't have happened if her son was ineligible.

Ricky Wright, president of the Putnam County Athletic League, gave WJXT a different version of events.

“I explained to the mother that he was not in the range of the weight requirement,” said Wright. “Her statement to me was, ‘So you’re saying to me that my son is too fat?’ Unfortunately, this mother was the only one out of all the people standing there who used the word 'fat.'"

Pop Warner's age and weight guidelines state that children who want to play for the Tiny-Mite team must be between the ages of 5 and 7 years old and must weigh between 35 and 75 pounds.

Josh Pruce, National Director of Scholastics and Media Relations at Pop Warner, told The Huffington Post in a phone conversation Wednesday that these categories are structured based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2000 growth chart for children.

"We are keeping it in that age group for player safety," Pruce told HuffPost. "We are trying to keep players bettwen the ages of 5, 6 and 7, who are trying to learn football, within that [weight] category because player safety is Pop Warner's number-one priority. Since [Michael] is currently 6, he is not able to play for us this year."

This is not the first time a child has been rejected from a football team due to weight. Last year, 12-year-old Elijah Earnheart, of Texas, was ineligible to play on account of his size. Standing 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighing 297 pounds, he was dismissed at a weigh-in for the Mesquite Vikings.

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