Bayhealth Hand Therapist Mary L. Mundrane-Zweiacher worked with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association to create a set of guidelines to ensure safety during marching band and color guard practice, parades and competitions.

Mundrane-Zweiacher has been an athletic trainer with college and Olympic teams, but when her son became a trumpet player, she realized how many hours of physical activity are involved with competitive marching bands. She is currently an athletic trainer with the Towson University marching band and works with the Middletown High School band.

Common injuries for musicians, Mundrane-Zweiacher said, are hand and wrist injuries because of overuse from prolonged playing and practicing. She also sees sprained ankles from uneven fields and lacerations from instruments. It’s not uncommon for color guard members to suffer from concussions.

The guidelines she developed with NATA focus on preparation to minimize the incidence of injuries and include a preparticipation exam to determine if a student is physically able to participate; an emergency action plan for managing injuries, especially when off-site; practice proper hydration; good posture to prevent the risk of injuries; the use proper techniques with musical instruments to avoid ergonomic injuries.

There are also guidelines for when competition and marching bands are in summer preseason such as acclimating to the heat, wearing lightweight clothing and seeking shade.

When it comes to returning to a sport, marching band or any exercise, Mundrane-Zweiacher said it’s not uncommon to experience muscle soreness. However, when students have muscle soreness that persists or severely limits daily functions, medical attention is necessary.

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