Students hospitalized for heat-related illness after band competition
MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Multiple emergency units responded to Penn High School where several people were being treated for heat-related illnesses at a band performance.
St. Joseph County Dispatch says the calls started to come in around 2:47 p.m. Saturday.
According to Penn High School Lead Band Director Glenn Northern, students were preforming outside as originally scheduled for about forty five minutes before it was decided to move the event inside the school's gymnasium.
Northern says the school was prepared with extra water and necessary resources to continue the show inside.
"There was a big crew of parents and students who were working all day to keep several water stations going with coolers full of ice water. literally filling cups and groups would come by and pick up water as they were en route to some part of the contest," says Northern.
After the students came off stage, a dozen were transported to local hospitals. Around a dozen more complained about not feeling well and needed to be treated for heat-related sickness on site.
"We had all the provisions in place and then all the sudden kids started to drop. So we really quickly said we need to stop we need to put everybody inside, hang on while we figure it out," said parent volunteer Sheri Campeau.
The high temperature was projected to be 90 degrees.
"Even on a cool day we have kids that go go go and then they have asthma or some other problem and they drop at the end so we always have a first aid tent and provisions," she said.
Northern says band leaders were instructed to prepare the kids for the heat ahead of the event.
Annie Delgadillo, a students from Angola High School says her band director stressed the importance of keeping hydrated and taking breaks when needed. They also modified their costumes so they weren't as hot.
"We did have a couple people who felt faint however we had them sit down, have a drink and they performed with a positive attitude," said Delgadillo.
Kim Marshal is a bus driver who has taken students from Angora to the competition for 16 years.
"Never has this weather ever driven us inside.The kids come out here and work their bottoms of to make this work and then this humidity they just couldn’t take it," says Marshal.
Over 30 bands were to compete at the school. However, bands from area schools, like Plymouth High School, said they decided not to compete because of the heat.
We hope all students & staff will be ok. Plymouth High School officials made the decision not to compete after we saw the unsafe heat index.— Plymouth High School (@PlymouthHSpcsc) September 23, 2017
Campeau continued, "These kind of things happen and we just appreciate how people adapted and worked with us."