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Marching to Macy's

Their Story

We complete Pre Participation Physical Evaluations here at SPARCC for athletes before they can begin their seasons, and most high schools in town also have their athletes take Impact as a baseline concussion test prior to the start of their sport. However, some activities are constantly being overlooked.

Color Guard is an activity where people spin rifles, flags, and sabres as a part of a choreographed dance alongside marching bands for visual effect. The team members are quickly running around the field to make it to their marks as they throw these props many feet in the air. Throughout the Marching Band season, they perform at halftime of football games as well as travel the state for competitions.

So then why is Color Guard not defined as a sport like soccer or baseball? Color Guard participants are not held to the same standards for PPEs or baseline testing as “regular sport” athletes, however when it comes to physical exertion, skill, and time spent practicing, it seems that they should be in the same category.

Over the past year, four Catalina Foothills Color Guard girls, Anna, Emelia, Erin, and Grace, have come to SPARCC with concussions. Their injuries have all been different and the road to recovery unique but all have affected their abilities to compete. Some had more challenges with school and reading while others had more social issues, feeling like they were missing out on things while they were working on getting better. When it came to practice, they had to be careful of not turning too fast or putting themselves in a position where they could get hit in the head again.

Since most of these athletes did not have any baseline testing, we had to compare their progress to others their same age which is not as accurate as comparing to their own personal baseline tests. One athlete, Erin, did both her PPE and baseline concussion tests done at SPARCC. We were able to track her progress more precisely as she continued to improve every visit. This was very helpful for Dr. Mo when it came to clearance because he was able to make sure she was back to her normal. After a lot of hard work practicing vision with brock string, being careful about their exercise, and taking things slow with school, all of the girls got cleared to compete again!

Despite the injuries, this season was one of the best yet for the Catalina Foothills Band. They won every competition this year with their show “What’s Opera, Doc?” and finished the season winning every caption and the Nunamaker Award at U of A Band Day.

Next week, the Catalina Foothills Marching Band will be traveling to New York City to perform as a part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Millions of people will pack the streets to watch the performances from all over the country. It will be an experience of a lifetime! This has not been the easiest journey for the ladies on this team but we are so proud of all of the hard work that they have put into their recovery and performances this year. They all have their own stories of how they got better and what worked for them. Grace would say that for her recovery, she pushed herself but not too hard and would stop when she started to feel worse. Erin says that missing a day of school won’t be the end of the world if it means a faster recovery. And Anna suggests that people shouldn’t put pressure on themselves. The recovery could be long but people should not close themselves in and find friends and people they trust to talk to. Emelia thinks that it is good to find a hobby that will help past the time like art or reading.

We are all so excited to watch these girls at the parade on November 28th! Along with the Macy’s Parade, the girls have so much more to look forward to.

Anna recently celebrated her sweet sixteen! After being out for almost a year, she was able to return to the court and began her Sophomore season on the Catalina Foothills basketball team.

Emelia is a section leader as a Senior on the Guard team and is looking towards graduation in May and starting in the fall!

Erin got her driver’s license a few weeks ago! She is also going to be the manager of the basketball team this year. Erin was interviewed about her concussion story, click here for the video.

Even though Grace had a second injury this fall, she will be cleared to perform in the parade! She has since gotten her license, had a beautiful birthday brunch, and is now looking forward to traveling all over the world with her family.

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