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Physicals for high school marching band members are on the horizon

When it comes to health care, high school marching band students might soon be on the same playing field as football players.

On Sunday, the Medical Advisory Committee of the University Interscholastic League made a recommendation regarding high school state bands. The committee made a motion to the UIL Legislative Council that marching band students be required to have pre-participation physicals that currently are required for student-athletes.

The Legislative Council will consider the recommendation at its June meeting, UIL Deputy Director Jamey Harrison said after his committee’s two-hour meeting.

“This is a conversation that’s been going on for some time,” he said. “When you practice on pavement in July and August, those can be some pretty intense practices.”

Some school districts around the state have already made “local decisions” to implement such physicals for their band students.

If the rule is passed by the Legislative Council, families will be required to provide a medical history of their children before they are cleared to participate in band activities.

Also Sunday, UIL Athletic Director Susan Elza gave a positive update on baseball’s new rule regarding pitch counts.

Elza said there have been “very few” complaints about the rule, aimed to help prevent arm injuries.

Under the new format, the game limit is 95 pitches for pitchers ages 14 to 16 and 110 for those 17 to 19. The rule allows a pitcher to be back on the mound the next day if he throws 30 or fewer pitches. A day’s rest would be required after 31 to 45 pitches, two days after 46 to 65, three days after 66 to 85 and four days after 86 to 110.

There are no plans to implement a similar rule for softball, Elza and Harrison said.

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