|Each year thousands of students participate in marching band. Many participate by carrying a flag, baton, woodwind or brass instrument, or drum. The drumline is of particular interest due to the unique and restricting nature of the instrument: a load carried anterior to the body with the only points of contact on the body at the shoulders and across the abdominal area. The influence of load carriage research on gait and joint mechanics, muscle activity, and contact pressure can be seen in the ever changing backpack designs and recommendations of load mass; however, there still remains a lack of research on marching band load carriage. The purposes of this investigation were: 1) to determine the influence of a standard marching snare drum system (SDS) and a modified marching snare drum system (MDS) on trunk and lower extremity kinematics while standing and marching; 2) to determine the muscular demand placed on the erector spinae, of individuals wearing a SHS and MHS while standing and marching; and 3) to determine the contact pressures at the shoulders and abdominal region of individuals wearing the SDS and MDS systems.
The results show that the SDS during stationary tasks decreased hip flexion, and increased trunk flexion, ankle plantarflexion, ES EMGAVG and EMGPEAK as a result of the changes in posture, and contact pressures at the shoulders. When the participants wore the SDS while marching, the results showed increased trunk flexion, and increased ES EMGAVG and EMGPEAK as a result of the changes in trunk angle. When implementing a lumbar belt there were similar significant findings at the joints and muscle activity level from the unloaded condition only, suggesting that the implementation of the lumbar belt did not alter the marching kinematics of the performer. The MDS condition however, did result in lower contact pressure values at the shoulders and higher pressures at the abdominal region, indicating a redistribution of pressure and load to the belt, hips, abdomen, and pelvic girdle and off of the shoulders. Therefore it can be concluded that implementing a lumbar belt to a SDS system ameliorates skin contact pressure and discomfort at the shoulders, potentially decreasing the occurrence of an injury, and anecdotally providing relief to the participants.