Bad Move by Bomber Management

Born with spina bifida and confined to a wheelchair, Leitch, 22, doesn’t know his father, was abandoned by his mother because of his disability and was beaten by his grandmother, who raised him.

That left him with little hope.

In 2009 he discovered a place where he felt special.

Initially befriending the late assistant coach Richard Harris at training camp, Leitch became one of the most loyal Bomber fans you’ll ever find, attending not only every home game, but every practice for the next four years.

Players and coaches became his friends, quarterback Alex Brink his closest.

The twinkle back in his eye, Leitch began taking photographs of players at practice, using his cell phone.

Players saw his knack for photography and pitched in to buy him a Canon camera, and he’d post photos on Instagram and Facebook, where players’ families often provided feedback.

Well, the pictures have stopped.

It seems somebody has decided Leitch can’t be on the sideline during practice, anymore.

“Some people thought I was dead or something,? Leitch was saying, Tuesday. “I didn’t show up for a few days, and they were, like, ‘Where you been at?’ I’ve been OK. I just wasn’t invited.?

Oh, he was allowed to park his chair in the tunnel for one practice, much too far away for a decent photo. Generally, he’ll be banished to the wheelchair seating area, up in the stands.

“And there’s another issue — the wheelchair seats,? Leitch said. “There’s a railing, so I can’t even see the game. It looks like I’m watching the game through a prison cell.?

While able-bodied people could at least get down to the front row for practice, Leitch can’t even do that.

Leitch says players have told him they’re disappointed he’s no longer allowed to do his thing as the unofficial team photographer.

Brink, no longer a Bomber, took to Twitter to express his feelings.

“Sad to see the #Bombers are restricting occasional field access to a wheelchair bound kid who wants to take pictures at practice,? Brink tweeted. “Apparently ‘tough, new security policy’ is high on the priority list this yr.?

Now, Leitch is fine with having less access at the new stadium.

What he would like is a proper explanation, and maybe a compromise, instead of a simple, “That’s the rules.?

http://www.winnipegsun.com/2013/06/11/stuck-behind-bars

Because of his disability David's the one who'll draw the media interest.

But he's not the only fan who's dissatisfied with the Bomber's new high security policy. For years and years Bomber fans have been allowed, indeed encouraged, to go down on the field and mingle with the Bomber coaches and players after practice. Many people would bring their children along and if I had a dollar for every picture that's been taken of Milt Stegall holding someone's kid ... . Well, no more. Some bright spark has decided to disallow it.

So here's a question to the fans around the league who attend their team's practices: What is your team's policy regarding mingling with the coaches and players at practice.

...I'm amazed, a disparaging Bomber post made by someone NOT from Hamilton...miracles abound

...not sure how a kid in a wheelchair would be such a security risk...in the new stadium are the sidelines smaller than they were at Gonads Inn Stadium? maybe they are tighter and it's not so much a 'security' concern as it is a 'safety' concern, for him and the players...

...on the sightlines issue at the wheelchair viewing location I'm not sure there can be much done about that, guardrails heights are set by building code and are pretty inflexible...maybe instead of steel guards they could switch them to glass? expensive, but better than watching the game as the kid noted, through bars...

I think I remember reading an article last season or the one before about that young man and his relationship with Brink. Anyway let's hope they can find a compromise that is good for everyone. I doubt Tim Burke did this out of spite.

Yeah, seems like a decision made without being thought through as opposed to spite or malice. Hopefully the Bombers can resolve this because it's terrible optics, besides being a slap in the face to this young man.

....someone has to reverse this baloney....c'mon Bomber management get a grip :thdn:

I can sorta see why they wouldn’t let him on the field anymore. The only wheelchair access to the field would be through the locker room, as far as I can tell, whereas at Canadinns the field was at ground level and usually not barricaded completely during practice. However, I would agree, it would be nice if some compromise could at least be reached on his sight line during the game

Plus, now that it’s been in the media, if they were to let this guy onto the field during practice, well, could open the door to all kinds of people wanting field access.

Interesting… Brand new stadium with no or next to no wheelchair access in 2013 is puzzling.

To the field. The stadium itself is easily accessible.

Really man, your cherry picking of posts and stories is getting predictable.

Not at all, I work with architects and General contractors every day and design and build accessible components for stadiums, schools and penal facilities. :wink:

You are the one claiming that there is no way to get a wheelchair on the field with the exception of the locker room. I strongly dispute your claim that's all.

However by the claims the young man makes that he has to see the games through rails in the accessible section points to some serious lack of attention to the special need community when designing the stadium.

There you go again. If you read my post, I admitted I didn't know if there were other ways to access the field via wheelchair. I simply said as far as I knew there were none. The only other field level entrance I can recall is via the machinery/truck entrance.

As far as the sight line issue, well just read any number of posts in any of the bomber forums. Obstructed sight lines effect more than just the handicapped section.

Also as I posted, I do hope they can arrange something to fix his view for the game.

Me too. Every large project like this will have some issues that just pop up once its built. A bit like a new car that all of a sudden once you own it realize has different compromise than your last. I'm sure they will fix them.

...Kubie would there be anything wrong or dangerous with letting him access the field using the vehicle access ramps then? it's not like its a freeway or something, he doesn't need handicapped specific ramps for this purpose...

To me, the bigger issue here is the fact that he has to look through rails in the supposedly accessible seats in a brand-new stadium. That's horrible and needs to be fixed ASAP.

I absolutely agree.

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQZqJ_-WAO8]www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQZqJ_-WAO8[/url]

I'm not really sure I can answer that. The vehicle ramps are at the opposite end of the field from the general entrance that is opened during practice. And right now a lot of finishing touches are goin on around the outside of the stadium so it might well be dangerous right now. In the future, I've no idea. Could even be insurance restrictions or something like that. I've been to a number of practices this year and other than players staff and media, I haven't seen anybody on the field during practice.

Actually, the more I think about it. It most likely is safety/insurance related. At Canadinns the distance from the sideline to the wall was wider. Plus there was lots of room beyond each end zone where one could watch practice from field level and be reasonably safe. That's just not the case at IGF. The field takes up pretty much all the available space. I'm not sure he could be anywhere at field level and not be in danger of a play going out of bounds or through the end zone.

But they gotta do something about his seating. And maybe get a better PR guy

thats just assinine. sounds like something MRX would design

I hope any player who gets injured because of this sues the pants off stadium owners/designers/etc

MRX in this thread, ok there, sounds like someone has issues regardless how assinine they come across. :lol:

you aint alive if you dont have issues :wink: