BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A senior defensive lineman for the Bloomfield Hills High School football team was born completely deaf and it’s not a barrier, but a challenge that he and his teammates met head on.
If you watch Devin Holmes play he never misses a step, and he’s never in the wrong position. His story begins in his childhood, his mother Gail Holmes, said she always wanted her son to get into sports. While he struggled early on, eventually with the help of interpreters he became a student of the game.
Al Kattinger is an interpreter with the Bloomfield Hills school district and has been working for 36 years. Devin Holmes is a Southfield resident but went to Bloomfield Hills schools because of its deaf and hard-of-hearing program.
During football practice Kattinger signs to Devin Holmes explaining adjustments or where he needs to go. During games Kattinger can’t be on the field, so Devin Holmes relies on his teammates and the linebacker behind him.
As for the team, Devin Holmes fits right in. While football gives the team a sort of universal language, some of the teammates have taken things a step further and learned American sign language to communicate more clearly with their friend.
Devin Holmes was named a captain for the 2019 season. Coach Loria said Devin Holmes is an example of a no-quit attitude, that he hasn’t given up no matter what and that he’s an inspiration to others.
Devin Holmes plans to play football at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. next year, a private university for the education of deaf and hard-of-hearing students.