While Down syndrome student Brett Bowden rarely got on the field, he was popular member of Hobbton High School's football team due to his enthusiasm and positive attitude.

Everybody expected Bowden to be on the team again for the 2011 season, but, in a controversial decision, the state of North Carolina has ruled him ineligible.

Since Bowden is a special needs student, he is allowed to attend high school until he is 22 years old. But since Bowden has already turned 19, he technically isn't allowed to participate in interscholastic sports.

Bowden can still put on a Hobbton High jersey and assume his regular position on the sidelines. However, he is no longer permitted to get on the field for the odd garbage time play, or even wear the pads he so cherished.

In response to the decision, a "Let Brett Bowden Play" Facebook page has been created, and now has over 50,000 fans.

Learn more about Bowden, and the fight to get him back on the field, below

[via Yahoo!]