As a former member of the Gladewater Marching band and the Tiger Band from Mt. Pleasant, I can truly say that I have been waiting for this moment for a long time.  The University Interscholastic League (UIL) has declared that student members of high school marching bands are athletes and should be treated as such.

That recognition comes in the form of policy that is designed to protect students from the punishing heat and physical exertion of preparing and performing a precision drill at each varsity football game.  Starting with this school year, all first and third year students in marching band will have to undergo and pass a physical examination - just like students in football, basketball, baseball, and the like.  Finally, band students get the recognition that other student-athletes have taken for granted for so many years.

The policy has been so effective, two students have been found with heart murmurs -  and experts suspect they will uncover more previously un-diagnosed problems.  This move is potentially already saving lives.

Now, if we can just get a National Marching Band League, with corresponding draft and astronomical salaries - I think we'll be on the right track.