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.”

Do you know a child with a remarkable story of how University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is Changing Medicine. Changing Kids’ Lives®?

Kid Captain is a partnership that began in 2009 between UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital and the Iowa Hawkeyes to honor pediatric patients and celebrate their inspirational stories.

The Kid Captain program is open to any current or former UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital patient 18 years of age or younger. Only parents or legal guardians may nominate their child.

All Kid Captains will receive a commemorative jersey, special recognition from UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital and the Iowa Hawkeyes, and an invitation to a special behind-the-scenes tour of Kinnick Stadium in August.

Children of any age may be nominated as an honorary (away game) Kid Captain. Due to sideline safety concerns, only children who will be 6 or older by November 2020 may be nominated as a home game Kid Captain.

Nominations are closed. 2020 Kid Captains will be announced in August.