Suit filed on behalf of disabled athletes

May 16, 2012 at 10:16 PM
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CHICAGO, May 16 (UPI) -- Illinois officials have filed a lawsuit they say would level the playing field for disabled high school athletes by allowing them to compete in statewide meets.

State Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed suit Wednesday on behalf of Mary Kay Callahan, against the Illinois High School Association. Madigan said disabled students should be allowed to compete in areas not affected by their physical limitations.

Callahan, a student at Fenwick High School, where she is a member of the swim team, argues that although she does not have the use of her legs she can compete in track and field events like discus and shot put, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

"I have full function of my upper body," Callahan said. "I can get in and out of the pool myself. I can't kick; that's the only limitation I have."

IHSA responded to initial complaints from Callahan, her school and the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association by filing its own lawsuit in April.

"We said, we don't believe we're in violation of any law with respect to these issues," Executive Director Marty Hickman said. "Their response, almost to the word, was, 'We won't talk about the law.' We weren't looking to turn this into a fight. We filed for a declaratory judgment asking the court to tell us what our obligations are. We're perplexed by this filing."

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