Texas band students will have to march to the doctor before they can take to the football field.
A new University Interscholastic League policy is now requiring students entering their first and third year in high school as well as seventh and eighth grade to submit a physical starting Aug. 1.
“We want to treat these kids just like we would any students athlete who requires the participation physical just because of what’s asked of them physically,” UIL Communications Specialist Logan Lawrence said. “We felt it should mirror the requirements we have for student-athletes to participate.”
The UIL Medical Advisory Board began the discussion for the new policy last summer before it was voted on this past October, Lawrence said.
While discussion of the new policy has already been in the works, it came as no surprise to several of the area school districts.
“The Seguin ISD Fine Arts program fully supports the recent UIL policy requiring physicals for marching band students,” Seguin ISD spokesman Sean Hoffmann said. “The health and safety of our students is our top priority and the requirement for physicals actually complements the importance of hydration, diet and wellness that our band directors have stressed for years.”
During marching band season, the musicians are exposed to a “litany of outdoor conditions while performing,” Hoffmann said.
“Medical physicals will actually provide an additional level of assurance that our students are fit to meet the environmental, physical and mental demands of performing and competing,” he said.
Navarro ISD Panther Marching Band Director Patrick Todd agreed.
“Overall, I am in favor of the new physical rule; the health and safety of our students is always our top priority,” Todd said. “A required physical exam helps this effort.”
Although NISD is not requiring physical exams to be turned in until Aug. 1, several students have already submitted theirs, Todd said.
Hoffmann added that SISD also has received some as well.
“We anticipate many more to comply in the coming weeks as the Aug. 1 deadline nears,” he said.
Along with the physical examination students are required to submit a medical history form signed by themselves and a parent or guardian, the UIL website said.
For schools who don’t currently require a physical, all students will be required during this first year of the rule to turn one in.
“In the second year of the rule (2020-2021) a third-year member would complete a physical examination in consecutive years,” the UIL website said. “With this phase-in process, no student would be required by UIL to have more than two physical examinations in grades 9-12.”
As part of the new policy, all students are expected to be medically cleared to perform, UIL said.
“A student with any physical limitations or special needs accommodations may be permitted by the authorized medical professional to participate with the marching band in a modified or specific role,” the UIL site said.
If a student is not able to march, Todd, said there are several other opportunities for them to be a part of the program.
For more information on the new rule, visit www.uiltexas.org/music/marching-band .