After 19-year-old student-athlete Jordan McNair died from heatstroke after a May 29 team workout, University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh has issued an apology acknowledging the school “accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes” made.
According to The Washington Post, Loh admits university athletic staff failed to recognize McNair was suffering from heatstroke and did not follow necessary procedures to treat it. Staff trainers neglected to take McNair’s temperature or bring said temperature down by icing his body. Instead, McNair was taken to Washington Adventist Hospital about 40 minutes after a 911 call was placed; he arrived with a critical temperature of 106 degrees. By way of ice and cold water covering, it took doctors 12 minutes to lower McNair’s temperature to 102 degrees. Despite these efforts, McNair would not recover and died on June 13.
Bill Murphy, the McNair family’s attorney, claims McNair had a seizure around 5 p.m., and the 911 call took place an hour later. University officials, however, report that no “student-athlete, trainer or coach has reported a 5 p.m. seizure,” according to ESPN.
At a news conference in College Park, Loh spoke of meeting with McNair’s parents and recalled saying to them: “The university owes you an apology. You entrusted Jordan to our care, and he is never returning home.”
This incident has opened the university to waves of criticism, most importantly coming from former student-athletes and staff who claim students are often both verbally abused and bullied by strength and conditioning coach Rick Court, who ran McNair’s workout with head coach DJ Durkin’s oversight.
While Court resigned, he reached a settlement agreement with the university for $315,000, Yahoo Sports reporter Pete Thamel reports. Durkin has been placed on administrative leave.
Source: Rick Court's settlement with Maryland is a lump sum of $315,000, which is two thirds of what he was due for the remainder of his contract. There's no mitigation going forward. There's also a mutual release of all claims by the school and Court.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) August 14, 2018
“We have placed members of our training and coaching staff on administrative leave, including the head football coach,” University of Maryland Athletic Director Damon Evans said in a statement. “Make no mistake; we will not tolerate any behavior from any employee within Maryland athletics that is detrimental to the mental or physical well-being of our athletes. There is nothing more important than our student-athletes safety.”
An internal investigation on athletic culture has been opened to dive into these allegations with Evans enlisting a commission of four. Charging this investigation includes retired Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for Maryland Ben Legg; retired Judge of U.S. District Court for Maryland and former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Alex Williams; former prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Maryland Charlie Sheeler; and someone deemed a “retired and respected football coach" to be named soon, ESPN reports.
Evans promises that from this point forward, the University of Maryland will change how they practice in the heat, including an increased amount of breaks and implementation of cooling stations.
Maryland AD Damon Evans shares how program has changed how they practice in the heat, in the wake of Jordan McNair's death. pic.twitter.com/Dym3xZCYdF— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) August 14, 2018
Investigation reports are expected to conclude by September 15 and be made public.
Now, check these out: