UIL now requires physicals for school band participants
The University Interscholastic League recently announced that, like athletes, students participating in band programs across the state are now required to get annual physicals.
Each year, the athletic department at Fredericksburg Independent School District conducts approximately 350 physical exams for athletes. With the addition of band students, this could increase to well over 500.
FISD District Head Athletic Trainer Natalie Handley said her department has been working alongside the fine arts department to implement this new change.
“We have been working closely with the band department to set up a better flow to include their new facilities, as well as utilizing their faculty to help with crowd control,” Handley said. “Once we found out these changes were taking place, we started planning how we could make the conditions better.”
FISD Director of Bands Jason Younts said the addition of requiring physical exams will help put his students’ safety first.
“I believe the physical requirement is a great decision that supports the safety of all our students,” he said. “I support any decision that puts student safety first. The compulsory requirement from the state eliminates any local debate about need. If it protects the short- and long-term health of even one student, it is a sound decision.”
Handley said initial vital assessments will now be done in the band and choir halls due to better acoustics. It will also allow additional support.
“The acoustics are much better in there for nurses and coaches to hear the responses rather than in the cafeteria,” Handley said. “With the additional faculty, we have increased our bilingual support. We will have more people able to communicate with non-English-speaking athletes, band students and parents.”
Currently, one night of free physicals is being offered.
“Due to the generosity of our medical community volunteering their time, we will be offering one night of free physicals to these participants,” Handley said.
For students that can not make that evening, they have until the first participation in any practice, scrimmage or performance or contest before, during or after school to get the physical completed.
“Students will not be allowed to participate in physical rehearsals until they have a physical on file,” Younts said. “If a student does not receive a physical, then they will not be able to participate in marching band. Marching band is part of our full-year band curriculum, so student participation is required to be a part of the program.”
Band students, he said, will have until band camp to complete the physical and athletes have until their first practice at Fredericksburg Middle School or Fredericksburg High School.
Younts said the band spends around four hours a day, or half of their summer rehearsals, outside working on marching.
“During this time, we do some cardio-vascular endurance training, muscle building activities such as instrument carriage, marching technique and posture and spatial awareness,” Younts said. “While inside, we don’t use chairs during the marching season so students have continued opportunities to rehearse visual components of the program.”
Younts adds that marching band is becoming more athletic.
“Modern marching is very physical and athletic and about half of what our students do is athletic in nature,” he said. “There is as much physical activity as any sport on campus and band students need the same safety measures in place as other athletes.”
With the new requirements, the fine arts and athletics department will see more collaboration, something Younts said can be rare.
“I am glad our department and athletics are able to cooperate so effectively on this initiative to the benefit of our students,” Younts said. “Not every district has such healthy cooperation between band and athletics.”
Handley said the exam is much like a yearly wellness check that a student would get at their regular doctor.
Medical history, vitals and a general medical assessment are evaluated.
Depending on the results from the exam, clearance will either be granted or further evaluations will be conducted.
Electronic forms can be found at https://fredericksburgisd.rankonesport.com/New/Home.aspx.