NBC 4 New York
The Brewster Little League team player who has cerebral palsy sat in the dugout with his teammates Wednesday night after Little League International reversed its position on letting him stay. News 4's Pei-Sze Cheng reports.
The Brewster Little League team player who has cerebral palsy rejoined his teammates in the dugout for their game against West Nyack Wednesday after Little League International reversed its position.
"I was happy that I was going to be in the dugout with everybody," Evan Sussman, 12, told NBC 4 New York, before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the game.
Sussman is in a wheelchair, but has sat in the dugout with his teammates for every game for the last three years. But over the weekend, a league tournament administrator told the team's coach Sussman was not allowed to be in the dugout in future games.
Little League International issued a statement saying that anybody who is in the dugout must be a roster member of the team. To be considered a member, the organization said, "you must play 60 percent of the games."
But early Wednesday, Carl Peterson, who runs the Brewsters, said he received an email from Little League officials reading, "Please be advised that the Tournament Committee has granted permission for the child to be present in the dugout as requested."
The reprieve came in time for Wednesday's game.
His teammates said a part of the team was missing without Sussman in the dugout.
"It was just terrible that he couldn't be there with us as a teammate," said Michael Charbonneau. "And he's on the team, so I don't know why they would do that."
Carl Peterson, president of the Brewster Little League, said of Little League International, "They were following the book, and they didn't use common sense. They didn't see the bigger picture."
"At least everyone came to their senses and decided to put him in the dugout, and it's a good thing," he said.
It all happened in time for Sussman's 13th birthday. Before the game, a member of the Challenger Little League, a league for the disabled, presented the boy with a ball autographed by a former Yankee.
But Sussman has one more birthday wish.
"Going to sit in the dugout with the Yankees," he said.
While the Brewsters lost Wednesday's game, they feel they've had a huge victory for their teammate.
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