Leaders at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital have postponed the 2020 Kid Captain season until 2021.
The decision comes amid health and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the recent cancellation of the fall football season by the Big Ten Conference.
“We had decided not to move forward with the Kid Captain program this year in the best interest of keeping our patients and their families safe and the Big Ten’s announcement to cancel the football season solidifies that decision,” says Pamela Johnson-Carlson, chief administrative officer of UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. “We know how much the kids and their families enjoy the program and we are disappointed as well. However, without Hawkeye football there really is no Kid Captain program.”
The Kid Captain program is a partnership between UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital and the University of Iowa Hawkeyes football team that started in 2009. Thirteen current and former patients are selected to have their stories highlighted throughout the football season.
Johnson-Carlson said discussions about this year’s Kid Captain program had been ongoing prior to this week’s announcement from the Big Ten Conference and that the program would have been altered significantly to address health and safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We considered a variety of options to keep the Kid Captain program on track this year, but it would have meant a scaled-down version of what we have done in the past, including not allowing the Kid Captains and their families to be in Kinnick Stadium and so much of what the program is about is the kids interacting with the team,” Johnson-Carlson says. “In the end, we realized the experience would be vastly different this year, and this decision from the Big Ten really validates the direction we were inevitably going. It will be better to wait until we can offer the kind of experience our Kid Captains and their families have come to expect.”