ROYAL OAK, Mich. - A deaf high school wrestler is taking the Michigan High School Athletic Association to court because he says they're violating his rights by not allowing his interpreter on the mat with him.
Ellis Kempf is the captain of the Royal Oak High School wrestling team - he's also deaf - and he's suing the MHSAA because officials refuse to let him use an interpreter on the mat.
Ellis has been deaf since he was two but it's not stopping him. He's still the leader of the team, even if he can't hear what his teammates and coach tell him.
"I need an interpreter so I can understand what the coach is saying," said Ellis. He and his attorney, say that's the same thing other wrestlers get when they go against him.
Jason Turkish is representing Ellis and has filed the lawsuit, claiming that he can't have his interpreter with him on the mat. This isn't about money - he doesn't want any - he just wants to wrestle like he's been allowed to all season long; with an interpreter within sight.
"You do it for the little matches but what the ones that matter more important," Ellis' father, Matt, said.
According to the MHSAA said interpreters are allowed but they have to stay in the coach's box. Ellis and his family say that's not practical.
"If you are facing the wrong way from coaches and you can't hear your coaches that's where it's a disability for him," Matt said.
The lawsuit was just filed but the attorney says he won’t let this issue get swept under the mat.
"Hopefully get a positive result Ellis can wrestle in January," Turkish said.