Heat sends 4 band members to hospital
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
The Fort Hays State University band likely will have a new look for the season opening football game Thursday.
Lane Weaver, director of marching bands at FHSU, is considering making a change to the Tiger band's uniforms after four of his students were taken to the hospital with symptoms of heat-related illness Thursday.
Most of the 140-some members took part in a march from campus to downtown Hays for the inaugural Core2Campus event.
Because of the 100-degree temperatures, Weaver had his band dress in T-shirts and shorts or jeans, a practice Weaver said he probably will continue into the coming football season.
Some students still experienced heat issues, Weaver said, and four were taken to Hays Medical Center for precautionary measures.
Weaver and Jeff Jordan, who assists with the Tiger marching band, accompanied the students to HaysMed and remained at the hospital until they were dismissed that night.
"We wanted to take precautionary measures," Weaver said. "No one passed out or lost consciousness. It was a preventive-type thing, and they responded well."
The band had met for its normal class time before Thursday's march, and members led the group down Eighth Street and turned north on Ash Street for two blocks, then marched the final two blocks to Main Street.
Playing while marching is what marching bands do. Water was available for the members when they reached Main Street, and they were encouraged to sit in the shade if they weren't feeling well.
Still, Weaver said, "it's hard work, and it's hard to stay hydrated while you're playing and marching."
"We've dealt with hot weather before," he said, "but it's been nice lately and now, the extreme heat ... it was all a timing thing."
Weaver said the incident led Jordan and him to think about making some uniform changes for Thursday evening's game against Emporia State University.
"We likely will not use our regular uniforms," Weaver said. "A lot of (universities) are going to T-shirts and khaki shorts in the early-season games when it's hot, and I think that's what we will do."