Leading Up The Chain

If John Ciecko was not leading up the chain when COVID hit Bloomfield Hills High School would likely not be back to sports as safely or quickly as they were.

Patrick Ohaver joins John in discussing how we can lead up the chain even when it is not easy.

Image from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51ZxYMZEKbw

Due to COVID a lot of things have changed.  What is the current state of Sports where you are?

Off-season conditioning in May / June

Onsite training forced the Sports Med Staff to shift to screening protocols.  Some days were long but we screened over 3,000 athletes.

John reached out to his contacts, Kurt Andrews at KC Sporting, and found what they were doing that worked really well.

August 12 was the start date for football

The state decided to start in phase 2 of the NFHS modified plan

Pretty much everyone was practicing outside.

They were able to block off parts of campus and then adjust as needed to create a more secure setting for them.

The state continues to change the requirements.

Lots of long days re-evaluating

Math is confusing: 10% capacity up to a cap, then you divide that by 6 feet

Swim team practiced outdoors.

They decided to cancel football for the fall and allowed some spring sports…but Spring sports in March in Michigan are a nightmare


Governor issued another executive order.

Patrick Ohaver:

July they were in stage 4 of 5

Indiana never planned to postpone football

His school decided to be more conservative and practiced outside.

Soccer played two games then started playoffs.

Individual school boards were left to plan.

Discuss the conversations you were involved in once the talks started happening.

Jamie Woodall’s document for the UIL set the standard for a lot of places

Relationship building is key – John has been building them for years

He has a group text with the principal, school board president and superintendent…that is a position of influence.

The school shifted to two cohorts:

Monday/Tuesday is group 1

Thursday/Friday was group 2

Cleaning was Wednesday Saturday

Where have you been able to lead up the chain?

Patrick – I will work by the hour and we can compact all of the practices into a 4-hour window each day.

School covered his liability insurance

Then he switched hospital systems to keep care flowing without interruption.

Pre-planning and “medical timeout” helped prevent a catastrophe

John – consider your team in the building…

Your custodial staff needs to have a seat at the table too. Involve the leaders of every group that is affected.

Get the team doctor involved in how care will change.

What does an event venue change look like?

My first internship in college taught me about making friends with secretaries and our custodial staff.

How do you see this impacting sports long term?

We are seeing a philosophical change in ideas…how important is this game when it comes to community health???

We are looking more at a big picture now rather than minute details.

We need to look and consider how this affects the mental health of students and athletes.

High school sports are important to emotional health, but is this game this week worth the risk???

Athletic Trainers are Health Care Providers

COVID highlighted the superstars on social media

What do I do if I do not have that seat at the table?

Start from here and build community

You can force your way into the door or build relationships.

There is a time and place to be abrasive and a time and a place to cultivate.

John had to learn how to ask to be at the table.

The more trust you earn the more respect you will get and the closer to the head of the table you will sit.

“How dare they not have me, John Ciecko, the medical expert here at the board meeting!!!”

– John Ciecko

What are we looking forward to in the 2020 Leadership series?

Conflict Resolution with Patrick Ohaver

Earned Leadership with Kevin Parker

Path to Leadership with Rick Cox

Documents created at BHS:

Modified step 2 protocol:

COVID Guidance for return to sports


Contact Us

John Ciecko

Patrick Ohaver

Jeremy Jackson

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