One year before 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair died of a heatstroke during a team workout, Maryland president Wallace Loh rejected a proposal that would have changed athletic health care at the university and would have better aligned the school with NCAA recommendations, according to the Washington Post.
Kevin Anderson, Maryland’s athletic director at the time, sent Loh a memo on May 19, 2017, detailing changes the athletic department planed to make in how it managed athlete injuries and illnesses. It also called for the school to establish an independent medical care model, according to the report, and would have athletic trainers report to the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore — which would make then “autonomous from any influence by the school’s athletic department.”
“This relationship also better aligns resources and expertise under one umbrella aimed at improving patient care, staff education and clinical research in the care of athletic conditions and injuries,” the memo read.
Loh rejected the proposal because he didn’t want medical personnel decisions to be made by another institution, according to the report.
The NCAA created a measure in 2016 allowing schools to “establish an administrative structure that provides independent medical care.” Several Big Ten schools have followed this model and shifted responsibilities to their associated medical schools, including Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern and Ohio State.
The Maryland athletic department currently handles most of the sports-medicine operations.
McNair died of a heatstroke following a team conditioning workout in May. Maryland coach D.J. Durkin was placed on paid administrative leave last week amid an investigation into his death, and a second ESPN report detailing a “toxic culture” in the football program under Durkin. Head strength coach Rick Court has resigned and director of athletic training Steve Nordwall has also been placed on administrative leave.
Loh and athletic director Damon Evans said on Tuesday that the university “accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes our training staff made.” McNair’s parents called for Durkin to be fired on Thursday, too, and reportedly will not discuss a potential settlement with the school until he is no longer the coach.
The investigation into McNair’s death is ongoing. Loh also announced on Tuesday that a separate investigation is ongoing into the football program.
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