37 band members overwhelmed by heat at practice, some taken to hospital

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MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (WTOV) -- First responders were called to John Marshall High School's football field on Thursday afternoon after 37 band members became overwhelmed by heat.

There were no serious injuries, but a good number of students did have to go to the hospital.

Band members from the middle schools and high school were practicing for Youth Night at halftime Monarch Stadium, when a mix of the heat and all the exertion took a bit of a toll.

“Several students were on the field, just showing students how to get on and off, and how they would be sitting in the new stadium. Several students became ill after they came off the field, heat-related issues,” said Corey Murphy, assistant superintendent, Marshall County Schools.

Several students started complaining of dizziness of nausea with a few even throwing up. That's when the school district decided to take some precautionary measures to make sure no one got too sick.

“Safety is our top priority with the students,” Murphy said. “So, at that point, we called our EMTs to get here, and at that point, we did take several students to the emergency room to make sure that everything was OK.”

In all, 37 students were treated at three different area hospitals.

Students who were not transported were checked out by a school nurse and other EMTs.

All parents at each school were informed of what was happening.

The major issue was a mixture of the heat and the brand-new field turf, which gets much hotter than the grass on which the bands usually practice.

“Yes, in this type of weather, the turf is going to be 20-25 degrees surface temperature hotter than if they were practicing in the grass,” John Marshall athletics director Robert Chavanek said.

This practice has been happening for more than 30 years but always on a grass field, according to school officials.

After Thursday's incident, they'll be looking at some other options that will be safer for students.

“It's something our students, our teachers, our staff need to get acclimated to,” Murphy said. “The turf will hold heat a little bit more than grass would. We just need to use better judgement when we look at this and use different times to come out onto the field.”

Marshall County Emergency Management released a statement Thursday evening regarding the incident:

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