New concussion insurance starts for fall high school sports

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High school athletes will have extra protection against concussions this year.

Thanks to a supplemental insurance policy with the Iowa Farm Bureau, any athlete who gets a concussion during a game or practice won’t have to pay anything.

“We had to change very little. Jay McKinstrey,” said Pella Head Football Coach. “We feel good about where we’re at, and we feel good that we’re doing the right things in tackling. We’re teaching the rugby style tackling that the Seattle Seahawks do.”

There’s a renewed vigor in camp for the Pella Dutch. And an extra statewide insurance policy, protecting the players against concussions.

“We have a great trainer in place right here and they always take good care of us and they won’t let us go out there unless we’re truly ready,” said Ryan Gustatson, Pella QB/DB.

Here’s how the state’s helping. If a player has primary insurance, it pays the copay difference. If they don’t have insurance, it covers the full cost. 

As camp’s begins, everyone’s mostly healthy.

The state now requires players to take a baseline concussion test before they hit the field. That’s something Pella has already been doing. 

“I think it’s a good test, just to see where you’re at. So, if you get a concussion or think that you might have one, they can check you and see where you’re at,” said Nick DeJong, Pella TE/DL. 

As they fine tune their games for the season, they’re just grateful that concussions are one less thing to stress over.

“Obviously, you’re really focused on the game, but then especially when it’s one of your close friends, you’re still focused on the game, but you worry and you just want to make sure that they’re okay,” said DeJong.

Here are a few signs and symptoms that students have reported


  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Feeling more slowed down
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy


  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Fatigue or feeling tired
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Does not “feel right”


  • Irritable
  • Sad
  • More emotional than usual
  • Nervous

Sleep (Only ask about sleep symptoms if the injury occurred on a prior day):

  • Drowsy
  • Sleeps less than usual
  • Sleeps more than usual
  • Has trouble falling asleep

Here are signs observed by parents or guardians: 

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about events
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Repeats questions
  • Can’t recall events prior to the hit, bump, or fall
  • Can’t recall events after the hit, bump, or fall
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Forgets class schedule or assignments

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