Blue Devils Health and Wellness Program
It is no secret that marching drum corps is a highly intensive physical activity. Drum corps has been called the Olympics of music or even compared to Cirque du Soleil. Every year the activity pushes the most accomplished performer to their limits. Come to a show, and you will see brass players moving at high rates of speed, guard members covering a football field, dancing while tossing a piece of equipment, and drummers taking enormous strides with drums attached to their bodies. These super-humans train all year and travel on buses, occupying a single seat, as they tour and compete all summer. Yes, their bodies endure a lot.
In the interest of the health and wellness of their members, the Blue Devils are proud to enlist the expertise of Dr. Deborah (Debbie) Seeley - licensed and practicing doctor of physical therapy in Beverly Hills, California and member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the Orthopedic Performing Arts Special Interest Group.
Debbie and a team of experts, including physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, exercise science specialists, chiropractors, massage therapists, athletic trainers, nutritionists, and a nurse, will focus on promoting the highest possible level of health and wellness for the members.
The team so far includes:
- Deborah Seeley, DPT
- John Bradford
- Jeff Chaplin, MSPT
- Diobel M Castner, MS
- Jennifer (Jaycee) Bentley, PT, DPT
- Thomas Wellbrook , DC
- Eric Buckman, MS, ATC, LAT, PES
- Stephanie Lynde
- James Martinelli
- Jared Andrews
- Victoria Shannon, RN
- David Neville
- Veronica Dyer
The benefits of having this team of health care professionals include improved member strength and endurance, injury prevention, enhanced performance, limited fatigue, heat exhaustion and dehydration, increased stamina, and increased potential for advanced physical capabilities within the show design.
Throughout the year this team will work collaboratively on various projects such as:
- On-site care for members both in Concord and while on tour
- Health & Wellness stations set up at Mars and Blue Devils' food truck where members have can access items such as ice, wraps, tape, exercise equipment, and self-massage tools as needed
- Improving staff education and awareness through workshops, articles and online tools
- Communication with staff regarding training programs, concerns and individual members
- Communication with members regarding general education and individual concerns
- Development of protocols to address injuries when they happen and how to utilize resources in local communities while on tour
- Development of a physical training protocol for all sections
The Blue Devils require a performer to have a medical physical before being accepted. Advanced medical screenings and physical evaluations will be performed at the 2014 April camp. This will provide a baseline measure of the members' physical condition and a more complete medical history which will assist the Blue Devils in developing appropriate training programs specific to the members and to the design of the show.
Lastly, the Blue Devils are proud to announce a new relationship with a hi-fi ear plug company. System Blue and the Blue Devils have partnered with EARasers to ensure that they are protecting the hearing of the staff and members. EARasers will be doing custom fittings for everyone at the April camp as well as providing education on the importance of protecting the hearing of all the performers. These partnerships and initiatives will promote wellness in the activity and provide better care for members though evaluations and research.