If you marched in a Drum Corps International ensemble even just a few years ago, you may find yourself wondering if you could survive the physical demands placed on members of today's drum corps. If you've watched this activity evolve over several decades, you probably know that the athleticism required to perform in a modern-day drum and bugle corps presents a variety of challenges.
With very few corps fortunate enough to have full-time athletic trainers on staff, many corps will be hard-pressed to find the right kind of medical help for injured members, especially once they are on tour. As a result, there can never be enough resources on hand to support corps members' wellness.
In an attempt to find that "right kind of help," a small group of corps alumni, staff members, and fans who are also healthcare professionals came together in 2007 to form the Drum Corps Medical Project (DCMP).
The initial idea of the DCMP was to match the healthcare needs of members with providers from varied healthcare disciplines who have a much better understanding of how injuries occur and how to prevent them. Since its inception, DCMP members have provided medical guidance as well as hands-on medical help during the summer months to injured and ill members; however the group has been limited in membership and in resources.
For the 2011 season, Drum Corps International is working to provide additional support and assistance to further develop the DCMP.
"I am extremely excited for what I know this group will be able to do and develop," said DCI Executive Director Dan Acheson. "This group will be able to broadcast the message to the drum corps community, as well as all of marching music, that student wellness and fitness is paramount to successful participation."
In order to better meet current needs, and with a strong commitment to developing injury prevention strategies, the DCMP is restructuring and expanding to include several key areas of focus including research, education, physical training, and an extensive recruitment effort to provide more medical resources for corps during the summer tour. Successful recruitment of allied healthcare professionals is key to meeting these goals. The DCMP is actively recruiting physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, athletic trainers, exercise physiologists, physical therapists, dentists, psychologists, paramedics/EMT's, nutritionists and pharmacists.
Healthcare professionals will be able to choose their desired level of participation such as providing phone triage to corps, being involved in research and educational activities, as well as providing on-site or in-office evaluation and medical management for an ill or injured member. Large numbers of allied healthcare professionals are needed across the country in order for the DCMP to meet its goals. This recruiting campaign is now underway.
Interested healthcare professionals can access the website, DCI.org/forms/dcmp, where they can learn more about how to become a member of the DCMP. Alumni, parents, staff, and fans who are healthcare professionals and who are looking for a way to become more actively involved with drum corps can become members of this project.
"It is our hope that through a partnership across the varied healthcare disciplines and with the support of DCI we can move forward while keeping pace with the challenging demands of the activity," said Laurie VanDoren, chairwoman of the DCMP. "All while keeping the health and well-being of corps members as our foremost priority."
Learn more and express your interest in the DCMP today.