Family of Miami Dolphins autistic, disabled teen fan requesting better accessibility seating for people with special needs
The family of an autistic, disabled Miami Dolphins fan have expressed that they would like to see changes when it comes to accessibility seating for disabled fans or ones with special needs after attending the game on Sunday at Hardrock Stadium.
13-year-old Andrew Alvarez, his father and uncle attended the Vikings-Dolphins game around 1:00 p.m. Sunday when Andrew and was asked to move from his wheelchair to get to his seat.
According to his family, Andrew is a diehard Miami Dolphins fan that has a genetic disorder, is autistic and recently had spinal fusion surgery.
Before getting to their seats, Andrew’s father Michael Alvarez asked Miami Dolphins officials, “Can we go to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) seats because he’s in a wheelchair?”
Alvarez then said team officials told him no because the seats were sold out.
Alvarez shared with Local 10 News that he and his son were disappointed because of the outcome.
“Resilient, amazing, amazing young man and he’s a diehard Dolphins fan and it just hurts,”said Alvarez.
Although team officials said the stadium was sold out, Alvarez took video and questioned if those seats were being used by fans with legitimate issues.
“You don’t necessarily have to be in a wheelchair to be considered handicapped but from the looks of it, it looks like most of those people were not in special need,” said Alvarez.
In correspondence with the Miami Dolphins, the Alvarez family said they were told by officials that ADA sections are pre-sold to season ticket members who then re-sell their seats to brokers and non-disabled guests.
“There should be some responsibility on their end to make sure these tickets end up in the right hands of the right people,” said Michael Alvarez,
Andrew’s uncle Oscar Alvarez hopes the team does a better job of selling tickets to other fans in the ADA section.
“I think the Dolphins need to do a better job of policing the ADA section in the stadium and also the resale of those tickets,” said Oscar Alvarez.
Alvarez feels that there should be more ticket accessibility to people with special needs and not just to make a profit after re-sale.
“It’s an issue for all the disabled kids or people that want to come to these games that cannot have access to these seats because the dolphins are allowing the re-sale for more money and that’s just wrong,” he said.