DENVER — As the Colorado House of Representatives Business Committee took roll Wednesday at the Legislative Legal Services building, one representative substituted "Omaha" for "here."
Yes, there was a decidedly Broncos flavor to Wednesday's committee hearing, as members of the Broncos' athletic training staff and five players sat in on a legislative session about House Bill 19-1083.
The bill, which aims to reclassify athletic trainers from "registered" to "licensed," passed the committee by a vote of 10-1.
Running back Phillip Lindsay, who attended high school and college in Colorado, was one of eight people to testify in support of the bill, which doesn't change "the scope of practice or the level of regulation" for athletic trainers. Instead, the bill aims to allow athletic trainers to have their professional liability coverage follow them when they travel outside of Colorado. HB19-1083 also would allow Colorado athletic trainers to participate in interstate compacts.
"It's very important," Lindsay said. "We have great athletic trainers in our facility, and they deserve the best. High school students and high school athletes deserve that too. I think that's more what it's for. It's to get everybody on the same page. When you go to the collegiate level and the professional level, you get taken care of — but it's really truly [about] when you're in high school, getting that proper treatment and proper care."
Lindsay was joined at the committee hearing by Case Keenum, Jeff Heuerman, Jake Butt and Max Garcia, though those players did not testify.
Others who testified — including Jim Keller, a former member of the Broncos' athletic training staff and current Colorado Athletic Training Association president — agreed that the bill could help athletes at all levels.
Colorado would become the 46th state to require licensure for athletic trainers. Only Colorado, Oregon and West Virginia currently require registration.
Broncos Head Athletic Trainer Vince Garcia, who was joined by two other members of his staff, said it was an important step for the bill to pass the committee stage.
"I think it's important for all Colorado athletic trainers to come out and support each other," Garcia said. "This is a big thing that we've been trying to get for a long time: licensure in the state of Colorado. The yes vote today was a big deal for us. I'm just here to help support that."
And Garcia, who spends time with his staff treating the Broncos' players nearly every day, said it was particularly meaningful to see Lindsay, Keenum, Heuerman, Butt and Garcia show up to support him and the bill.
"It means a lot," Garcia said. "First and foremost, we work so closely with these guys that they're like family. We support them and they support us. It means a lot. The fact that they're here does help, and as you saw inside there, they bring a special meaning to Colorado. The Broncos are Colorado. And so to have them down here supporting us means the world to us."