August 11, 2018 / 6:31 AM / 3 months ago

Maryland places football staffers on leave amid McNair investigation

Maryland has placed members of the football support staff on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues into the death of redshirt freshman Jordan McNair, the university announced Friday.

A Maryland spokesperson would not name the people who were placed on leave.

McNair, the Maryland offensive lineman who died after collapsing during a spring workout, had a body temperature of 106 degrees when taken to a local hospital in May, according to a report from ESPN on Friday.

McNair, 19, also struggled to stand straight while running short sprints before his collapse, according to the report. While an official cause of death has not been released, ESPN reported sources said his death was due to heatstroke. The website of a foundation his family started in his memory also says McNair died of heatstroke.

He collapsed on May 29 during the outdoor workout and died June 13.

The university has hired a former collegiate athletic trainer, Dr. Rod Walters, to investigate whether coaches and team staff followed proper procedures once it became clear that McNair was struggling. It is expected that Walters’ report will be released in mid-September. His family also has hired a legal team to investigate his death.

ESPN talked to multiple people who described the practice and what happened to McNair, who is said to have experienced a seizure about 45 minutes into the practice — approximately 5 p.m. — but was not transported to the hospital until much later.

Trainers evaluated McNair on site and called for an ambulance. McNair was taken to Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

“Our preliminary investigation reveals there is an unexplained one-hour time period when nothing significant was done to avoid the complications of heatstroke,” McNair family attorney Billy Murphy told ESPN . “Although there is some evidence they allegedly tried to cool him down, he should have been iced immediately. He presented at the hospital with a temperature of 106, which means he was not cooled down.

“We’re very concerned about the unexplained one hour between the time of the seizure and hyperventilating that was observed by a coach, and what happened in that remaining hour before the EMT people were actually called. This points to an utter disregard of the health of this player, and we are extraordinarily concerned that the coaches did not react appropriately to his injury.”

Murphy added that a lawsuit will “likely” be filed.

While Maryland officials declined an interview request, they did issue a statement disputing that part of the report. The university statement said no one affiliated had a seizure around 5 p.m. that day.

The ESPN story detailed complaints against the Terrapins program under head coach DJ Durkin and strength and conditioning coach Rick Court. The complaints concerned what some described as verbal abuse and humiliation of players by the two men.

In a statement, Maryland officials said allegations against Durkin and Court were “troubling and not consistent with our approach to coaching and development” of student-athletes.

—Field Level Media

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