University of Maryland athletic director Damon Evans told an advisory council Wednesday that his department has completed 18 of the 20 recommendations made in the wake of football player Jordan McNair's death last June.
McNair died from the effects of heatstroke 15 days after struggling during an outdoor workout. More than an hour elapsed between the time McNair first exhibited symptoms on the field and the time Maryland staff called 911.
The university subsequently sought the advice on its heat-management protocols from physician and athletic training expert Rod Walters, who then outlined mistakes made in Maryland's emergency response. As reported by The Baltimore Sun, the athletic department now ensures that cold water immersion devices are available at all practices, that specific temperature readings are done at each practice location, and that updated emergency plans are posted at all activity sites and drilled into staff, among other implemented recommendations. The two recommendations not yet in place include convening a medicine review board to oversee student-athlete health issues and establishing a model for supervising athletic trainers.
Evans said the department still is working with sports medicine experts to determine what the best organizational model is for the university’s circumstances. "We are looking across the country to see what different models are out there," he said, adding that he hopes members of the athletic medicine review board will be announced soon and meet sometime in May. On Wednesday, the advisory council, chaired by a former university system chancellor, peppered Evans and others with questions about the ways they’re learning from McNair’s death and appeared pleased with the university’s progress.
The council also is overseeing the implementation of recommendations from a separate report that probed the football team’s culture. In response to the roughly 200-page report, which concluded that problems festered within the football program because players feared speaking out, the athletic department is prioritizing transparency by encouraging senior officials to drop in on open practices to observe what goes on day-to-day, the Sun reported. The department has also created an online platform, called Terps Feedback, that provides student-athletes the opportunity to submit comments or concerns anonymously.
Evans predicted the bulk of the second report’s recommendations would be implemented in the next few months.