Richard Grube, an athletically inclined senior at Freedom High School in the Bethlehem Area School District, played football his freshman, sophomore, and junior years. Prior to the start of the football season in his senior year, the district claimed Richard was ineligible to play on the basis that Richard only had one kidney. Richard and his family filed a preliminary injunction against the school district claiming the district violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. (Grube v Bethlehem, 1982) According to the United States Department of Education (2011), Section 504 states that, “no otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by ...view middle of the document...
(Grube v Bethlehem, 1982) Prior to his senior year, Richard prepared for the upcoming football season. He attended team practices and participated in physical contact with other players. A few days before the first scrimmage game, Richard was barred from playing and practicing based solely on only having one kidney. Richard and his father, Mr. Grube agreed to sign a waiver accepting full legal and financial responsibility in the event that Richard is harmed playing football. In the 1981 season, Richard did sustain an injury to his remaining kidney and was hospitalized after Richard hit another player’s helmet. (Grube v Bethlehem, 1982) While in the hospital, Richard was under the care of Dr. Lennart, a specialist in Urology. Dr. Lennart did not advise Richard to stop playing football and stated that it was Richard’s choice to continue playing the game. When Richard decided to continue playing football, Dr. Lennart referred him to Lehigh University to secure protective equipment from Texas. At no cost to the district, Richard obtained a protective “flack jacket” for $400 designed to protect the kidney and ribs. (Grube v Bethlehem, 1982)
Dr. Delp, Bethlehem Area School District’s physician and the physician to the school’s athletic teams, conducts medical examinations for all team members. Dr. Delp, checks the players’ heart, lungs, and kidneys. (Grube v Bethlehem, 1982) Dr. Delp, who is not a specialist in Urology or sports medicine, decided that it would be best that Richard obtain a note from his kidney specialist stating that Richard could take part in this contact sport. Since Richard did not have a kidney specialist he asked Dr. Lennart to write a note to Dr. Delp. Dr. Lennart wrote three letters on behalf of Richard. After receiving the letters, Dr. Delp came to the conclusion that playing football would be too risky for Richard. (Grube v Bethlehem, 1982) In preparation for his testimony, Dr. Moyer, director of Sports Medicine Clinic at Temple University, examined Richard and determined that Richard is in good health and his remaining kidney is healthy. In Dr. Moyer’s professional opinion, he stated that Richard can safely play football with protective equipment with little to no risk of injury. In the event that Richard was injured, the result would be dialysis or a kidney transplant, which Richard and his family fully understood. (Grube v Bethlehem, 1982) Another important factor in this case is that Richard and his family was not financial sound but Richard demonstrated his maturity by holding down a part-time job to purchase his protective gear. (Grube v Bethlehem, 1882)
Therefore, the court ruled in favor of Richard Grube because according to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Richard was “otherwise qualified”. The Department of Education 2011 notes that,
The exclusion from contact sports of students who have lost an organ,
limb, or an appendage (e.g. a kidney, leg, or finger) but who are other-
wise qualified is...