A bill in the Iowa Senate would require Iowa high schools to have a certified athletic trainer on site to identify concussions at all varsity football, wrestling and boys and girls soccer events.
The bill advanced in the Senate on Wednesday and could be considered by the Senate’s education committee, the Sioux City Journal reported.
Doug Struyk of the Iowa Athletic Trainers’ Society estimated it would cost schools that have all four sports outlined in the bill $2,400 to $3,900 per year to have a certified trainer at those varsity events, according to the report. Troy Kleiss, also with the Iowa Athletic Trainers’ Society, told the newspaper there currently is not enough trainers in the state to meet the demand proposed in the bill but the market could adjust in time.
If a trainer is at a high school athletic event, he or she has final authority to identify concussion symptoms and determine whether or not a student-athlete should be removed from that event. If there is no athletic trainer on site, the decision to remove a student-athlete who has concussion symptoms rests with a coach or an official, according to the report.
“We’re trying to protect our student-athletes across the state of Iowa,” Sen. Tod Bowman, a former high school wrestling coach, told the newspaper. “(The bill would) take the coach out of the uncomfortable position where there might be a conflict of interest and allow a professional to make a decision.”
Some school officials are concerned about the costs that would be associated with the bill and what may be cut from a school budget should the bill pass.
“It’s costing us between $5,000 to $7,000 a year to have these people in place,” Rick Roberts, athletic director at Van Meter High School, told Waterloo, Iowa, TV station KWWL. “There are going to be districts that struggle with this bill.”