(KLTV) - Many East Texas students will be marching to the doctor ahead of the 2019-20 school year, after a new rule from the University Interscholastic League (UIL) requires physical exams for students in school marching bands across the state.
“We were a little apprehensive because it was just another thing to have to do to get ready for band,” said Joseph Hewitt, director of bands at Chapel Hill High School. “But, as I thought it through, I’m excited that we’re allowing our band members to be recognized as athletes.”
Band students are required to carry a variety of instruments, some of which are much heavier than others (the baritone, trombone, or sousaphone), in excessive heat during summer marching practice. Doctors want to make sure students are healthy enough to participate, no matter which instrument they carry.
“I felt as though it was a very physically demanding thing," said Holly Walton, a senior clarinet player at Chapel Hill. "I feel like getting physicals would be best for everybody because just so you can have that reassurance that you’re safe.”
Students are able to take a physical in a doctors office or clinic and bring the paperwork to school, or some schools are offering physicals for their students on campus.
“It means that we’re looking out for our own students, because a lot of people can’t afford to go to their pediatrician and get a physical and come back,” said Isaac Cranfill, a senior bass clarinet player at Chapel Hill High School. “So, they’re bringing them up here to the school so they can do it as a whole census.”
The new rule applies to marching band members entering the first and third years of high school.
“We haven’t really got any negative feedback because everybody wants their student, their child to be safe,” said Larry Wade Jr., the director of bands at John Tyler High School. “It may be a hassle to them, but they understand it’s all about safety.”
Students will be required to have taken a physical by August 1, 2019.
KLTV 7′s Alex Leroux stopped by Kilgore High School to visit with students and band directors about the requirement.