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Marching band kids at risk from heat illness

Alan Flurry

This time of year, you hear a lot about heat-related illnesses in athletes. Thousands of student-athletes are sidelined by heat illnesses each year, and some don’t recover.

But while guidelines exist to help coaches and trainers keep their students safe, there’s another group on the field that’s still at risk: students in marching bands.

“You read all these stories in newspapers about marching band members experiencing heat-related illnesses, but no one’s pulled together a comprehensive study of how often those illnesses occur, what the affected students were doing,” said Andrew Grundstein, a professor in the University of Georgia’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “There are no national standards for keeping marching band members safe like there are for other active populations.”

Working with Rashawn Merchant, an undergraduate in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and lead author of the study, Grundstein and his team set out to fill that gap.

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