UMD Taps Military, Cirque du Soleil for Safety Protocols

Courtney Cameron Headshot

Following the death of University of Maryland football player Jordan McNair due to heat stroke at an outdoor practice session last year, the school is looking to new sources for ideas on how to keep its student-athletes as safe as possible.

Along with the onboarding of new head football coach Michael Locksley (former head coach D.J. Durkin was fired due to coaching environment and emergency preparedness issues), UMD is also making significant changes to its entire athletics department.

For starters, the university is planning to have a stronger hand in controlling the coaching environment across all of its sports and, according to NBC, it has already implemented 18 of 20 recommendations prepared by independent consultant Dr. Ron Walters.

Among those recommendations — some taken from far-flung sources such as the military and Cirque du Soleil — are new guidelines for warm-weather practices. UMD will monitor the temperature and move practices indoors when it’s deemed too hot for safety.

“I'm just trying to apply new experience you see from other places and apply it to situations here,” said Walters. “Look at best examples and apply them here.” The Maryland board will continue to meet to ensure the department is doing all it can to maintain safe conditions.


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