Heat worries Central Florida High School band, ROTC

Lake Mary High School cancels practice for lightning strike


ORLANDO, Fla. – As high school ROTC and band practices in Central Florida begin, coaches are worried about the heat.

Summer band practice at Lake Mary High School was cut short on Tuesday after lightning struck too close to the practice field.

When lightning isn't chasing the group back inside, band director Mike Mitchell said his big concern is the heat.

"We're not waiting 45 minutes to an hour to give them a break. We're giving them a break as often as they need them, and if kids need a break, they can take one on their own," Mitchell said.

The school's ROTC was doing rifle drills, spinning 12-pound rifles under the hot sun. Some cadets wore camelback's to stay cool.

"It's pretty convenient. Instead of picking up water and putting it down when we have a lot to do -- just slide it out and drink on it," said Anthony Guenther, an ROTC instructor.

As the school's ROTC and band take precautions during their outdoor practices, when student-athletes hit the field next week, they will be following new water break policies.

The Florida High School Athletic Association is limiting practice time to 18 hours a week, and setting a minimum five minute rest and hydration break every thirty minutes of practice.

While the band isn't considered a sports team, some say they work just as hard, and need to be just as careful at practice.

"Some people underestimate how much we do. We do a lot. I go home tired every day," said JJ Morris, a freshmen band member at Lake Mary.