37 band members overwhelmed by heat at practice, some taken to hospital
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:
Emergency crews from Marshall, Ohio & Belmont Counties responded to an emergency situation at Monarch Stadium in Moundsville and Sherrard Middle School Thursday morning and Thursday afternoon.
Marshall County 911 received a call at approximately 11:17am requesting an ambulance for a student with a heat related illness at Monarch Stadium in Moundsville. As emergency crews arrived on scene, additional students were also complaining of heat related illness and additional emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene. Students from John Marshall High School, Moundsville and Sherrard Middle Schools were at the field for band practice. Emergency personnel began triaging and treating students with several students transported to local hospitals. EMS personnel were also dispatched to Sherrard Middle School to triage and treat students there with several more also transported to local hospitals.
According to Marshall County Emergency Management Director Tom Hart, approximately 10 EMS agencies from Marshall, Ohio and Belmont Counties provided 16 ambulances to transport patients with several squads returning back to both locations to transport patients. Approximately 37 patients were transported to local hospitals; WVU-Reynolds Memorial Hospital, Ohio Valley Medical Center and Wheeling Hospital received patients.
Emergency squads from Marshall County EMS-Moundsville, Marshall County EMS-Cameron, Glen Dale, McMechen, Limestone, Bethlehem, Stone Church, Wheeling Fire Department, Shadyside, Spirit of 76 and Bethesda responded. Also responding were Moundsville City Fire Department, Moundsville VFD, Moundsville Police Department, Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, Marshall County Emergency Management and Marshall County Schools Administration. Officers from Wintersville Police Department were on their way to the Regional Jail in Moundsville and stopped to offer their assistance.