32 Marshall County Students Taken to Hospitals for Heat-Related Sickness

Photos by Shawn Rine Monarch Stadium is nearly complete as football and soccer season approaches. Bottom right: John Marshall Athletics Director Rob Chavanak, left, and new coach Jason Willis are ready for football to be played Friday night against University. Game time is 7 p.m.

MOUNDSVILLE — Students from John Marshall High School, Moundsville Middle School and Sherrard Middle School were taken by ambulance to three hospitals in the Northern Panhandle after becoming ill following band practice at Monarch Stadium.

Tony Wood, communications coordinator for the district, confirmed this afternoon that 32 students were taken to the hospital earlier in the day. He said 11 of those students were from the high school while nine were from Moundsville Middle School and 12 were from Sherrard. He did not release the name or condition of any of the students, but said that some of the students had been released by 3 p.m. There were no fatalities, he said.

Students were taken to WVU Reynolds Hospital in Glen Dale and Ohio Valley Medical Center and Wheeling Hospital in Wheeling.

Band students from all three schools had been practicing for a middle school band performance that was scheduled during Friday night’s football game. Although Wood said the district has always had the practice during the day at Monarch Stadium, this is the first year for the stadium’s new artificial turf. He said the district believes the heat during unseasonably warm temperatures radiated off the turf and led to the students’ illnesses.

Several students reported being light-headed and had other heat-related symptoms, Wood said. Nurses at Moundsville Middle School took some students into the air conditioned field house where they attempted to re-hydrate them. Although emergency personnel took some students to the hospital directly from the stadium, others were transported from the schools after returning there and then telling school officials that they felt sick, he said.

More information was expected to be available later today.