Cedar Rapids public high schools partner with University of Iowa Sports Medicine for athletic training services

Unique program allows schools and sports organizations to choose the team the Iowa Hawkeyes choose for sports medicine expertise.

Marv Cook knows the anguish that parents and coaches can feel when trying to make the best decisions after a student athlete has been injured.

Athletic trainer, Johnnie James, works with a student at Regina High School

“You want to do the right thing,” says Cook, head high school football coach at Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City. “You don’t want to go sit in the ER on a Friday night unless you’re sure it’s necessary. But if you’re not sure, and you don’t have someone with the training and expertise to advise you, you can’t just neglect it.”

Since 2011, that expertise at Regina has been provided by University of Iowa Sports Medicine athletic trainer Johnnie James. James is also an athletic training instructor, clinical supervisor, and sports medicine researcher at the University of Iowa.

James’s presence at Regina is made possible by the UI Sports Medicine Outreach Program, which offers athletic training, physical therapy, and physician event coverage services through UI Sports Medicine.

Three Cedar Rapids public high schools—Jefferson High School, Kennedy High School, and Washington High School—began their partnership with the program on Jan. 1, 2020.

“We now provide the athletic trainers for all three public high schools in Cedar Rapids,” says Kyle Duchman, MD, medical director of the UI Sports Medicine Outreach Program. “The athletic trainer is in the school full-time, covering all sports at that school.”

Services provided are unique to the needs of each school or school district and include athletic training and medical coverage at events while streamlining student athletes’ access to UI Sports Medicine staff and services, including the same return-to-play protocols for concussion and other injuries that UI Sports Medicine uses to help Iowa Hawkeyes athletes get back into action.

“If a high school volleyball player goes down with a knee injury, our athletic trainer is in contact with our doctors,” Duchman says. “Of course, the family always makes the decision about how to assume care, but if they have any issues obtaining service, we can send a physician to evaluate the athlete at the school, or the family can come to our clinic. We help them navigate the system at a time when they may be a little bit overwhelmed and emotional.”

UI Sports Medicine athletic trainers use an app specially designed for maintaining sports medicine medical records for high schools, recording all details of an athlete’s injury, care, treatment, and rehab so that doctors, parents, and coaches are always informed about the student-athlete’s progress.

Regina has maintained its partnership with UI Sports Medicine since 2011. Cook, a former Iowa Hawkeyes All-American tight end and a veteran of seven NFL seasons, says the arrangement is “invaluable” because of the unparalleled level of sports medicine expertise available to Regina athletes for the full range of needs, from the most serious injuries to the typical bumps and bruises that come with every sport.

“In football, the only day you’re truly healthy is the first day of camp,” Cook says. “Otherwise, you’ve always got an issue with a finger, an ankle, a shin, or whatever. Having a relationship with UI Sports Medicine allows our athletes to get treatment that they just wouldn’t have otherwise.”

UI Sports Medicine provides comprehensive sports medicine services for athletes of all ages and skill levels, including the latest techniques in surgical and nonsurgical treatment and specialized care for female athletes.

With same-day, next-day, and evening appointments, UI Sports Medicine makes it easy for athletes to get the care they need, when they need it, in a spacious, state-of-the-art, standalone facility with free parking just steps from the front door.

To make an appointment, call 1-319-384-7070.