DES MOINES — Believe it or not, football will be in our lives for the next 25 weeks. How safe the game is is still under heavy scrutiny, however. The state of Iowa has taken significant steps recently to keep all of its young athletes safe.
Monday marked a brand new season of fall sports here in Iowa. But for Dowling Catholic and several other schools, it means it’s a time to look back on one year of concussion baseline testing.
So far, the players say the system is working very well.
“That’s something you appreciate as a player a lot that the coach is looking out for us and making us a priority, especially with all the media out there about CTE and what are the detriments of playing football,” said Dowling Senior Lineman Ryan Boles.
At it’s core, football is the same as it’s always been, but how injuries are monitored and prevented is far different.
“Whether you have an ‘owie’ or you’re just not feeling that well, and you actually need to seek medical attention from the training staff, that’s always really important for us to do,” said Boles.
Dowling Catholic was one of several schools to start testing saliva last fall.
“For us, we felt that in order for us to help with improvements, we would have to participate and I really felt that we were one of the first ones to get on board with that,” said the school’s Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Tom Wilson.
The coaches are pleased with how the state’s athletic association is proactively working with all of its coaches.
“It’s a requirement to take the concussion course, and I think that USA football has had an impact just with the safety of the game and teaching different techniques,” said Wilson.
Smarter training staffs supplement all of that.
“Injuries are handled really well. We have an excellent training staff here, we do a lot of recovery stuff, ice baths, exercises, a lot of stuff like that,” said Boles.
Simply buying in to the idea has made the biggest difference.
“We want to figure it out and keep football, the sport that we love, as safe as possible and keep everyone safe and healthy,” said Boles.
Dowling’s head trainer says there’s been a noticeable difference, just in the last couple of years, in how players are reporting concussions. They don’t try to be heroes, because they realize the impact on their long-term health.
The state athletic association has renewed its supplementary concussion insurance program for the upcoming school year. To learn more, follow here.