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A referee at a football game.
Flickr user Brandon Giesbrecht/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Verbal and physical assaults on referees have become an issue so serious that Michigan may be joining 20 other states in specific legislation that protects sports officials.

Mark Uyl is the assistant director for the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). He believes some of the greatest concerns for referee safety comes from recreational and youth-level programs, where volunteer coaches lack accountability.

Kempf

Eighteen-year-old Ellis Kempf is captain of his wrestling team, the Royal Oak Ravens.

He wrestles in the 152-pound weight class.

Kempf is also completely deaf without his cochlear implants, which he can't wear during matches. 

Most of the time, it's not an issue. Kempf has a sign language interpreter who signs his coach's instructions during matches.

But during state matches sanctioned by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA), Kempf's  interpreter was prohibited from moving around the wrestling circle to maintain eye contact with him.

rock478 / morgueFile

A deaf high school wrestler is suing the Michigan High School Athletic Association for the right to have a sign language interpreter alongside the mat during tournaments.

Ellis Kempf, 18, is the wrestling squad captain at Royal Oak High School. He’s been deaf since the age of two due to meningitis, and can’t wear his hearing aids during matches. Kempf used a sign language interpreter alongside the mat until the Michigan High School Athletic Association said that’s not allowed.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This fall, Michigan high schools are testing two different programs for detecting concussions in high school athletes.  

Girls’ sports are getting equal attention.

MHSAA plans sideline concussion testing kit program

Mar 18, 2015
Governor Snyder is expected to sign legislation attempting to reduce the number of concussions in youth sports.
Reigh LeBlanc / flickr

The Michigan High School Athletic Association wants to make it easier for coaches and other safety officials to check student athletes for concussions.

Next fall, the MHSAA plans to launch a pilot program that will give schools around the state concussion detection kits that can be administered on the sidelines.

Jack Roberts, MHSSA executive director, said one of the program’s goals is to raise standards when it comes to concussion safety.  

Mlive.com

Michigan high school sports officials are trying to figure out how to implement a new federal rule that opens sports programs to students with disabilities.

More than 300,000 students take part in high school sports in Michigan.   

A small number are disabled.

But the number of disabled students playing high school sports will likely increase.

That's because the federal government has decreed that handicapped students must be given a fair shot to make traditional sports teams, or schools must create new programs for them.