Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair died last month from heatstroke suffered during an organized team workout May 29, his family wrote on a website launched for a foundation they have started in his honor.
McNair died June 13 at 19 years old. Maryland declined to provide McNair’s cause of death at a news conference June 14, citing respect for the privacy of McNair’s family. The school is participating in an external review of the situation conducted by Walters Inc., an athletic training consulting firm. The review is evaluating Maryland’s procedures and protocols related to McNair’s death. It is also evaluating the football program’s procedures and protocols related to “planning and conducting team conditioning and practice sessions; and for responding to health emergencies during or after those sessions,” according to a university spokesman. The review started at the end of the third week in June, and a university spokeswoman said then that it could require up to 90 days.
The Jordan McNair Foundation, started by McNair’s parents, Tonya Wilson and Martin McNair, aims to “promote awareness, educate, and advocate for parents and student athletes about heat-related illnesses at youth, high school, and collegiate levels,” according to the “Our Mission” page of the website. The site includes an essay written by Martin McNair titled, “Jordan’s Journey: A Letter From a Father.”
“Our plans did not include his death. Our plans included something more. Our plans included him,” Martin McNair wrote after detailing his son’s path to becoming a highly sought-after Division I football recruit out of Randallstown, Md., and eventually an offensive lineman for the Terrapins. “But God had other plans. Jordan gave us 19 great years, and we will miss him. He was a great son, grandson, cousin, nephew, brother, friend, student, roommate and teammate.”
“While Jordan is not with us to build his legacy, as a family we are doing it for him. This is his legacy,” Martin McNair continued in the essay. “We ask but one thing, that you join us in keeping Jordan’s name and legacy alive by supporting The Jordan McNair Foundation (T.J.M.F.).”
McNair was hospitalized following a team workout May 29 at the program’s outdoor practice facility. The workout was designed and supervised by the Maryland strength and conditioning staff, and certified athletic trainers were present throughout, according to an account provided by the university. Maryland Coach DJ Durkin was also at the workout, which began around 4:15 p.m. McNair, who was listed as 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, had trouble recovering after completing a series of 110-yard sprints, a standard conditioning test, and received medical attention. McNair soon was transported to the team’s practice facility and later airlifted to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore at approximately 6 p.m., according to the university’s timeline of that day.
He received a liver transplant, according to a GoFundMe page created June 6 to support his family. He died 15 days after he was initially hospitalized.
The foundation’s website lists three programs: “Breaking Chains/the Jordan McNair Training Facility,” “The Jordan McNair Scholarship Fund,” and “My Body, My Safety: Player Safety 101.” The third program is looking to educate athletes, parents and coaches on heat-related illnesses in a handful of ways. One way is to “Educate students on heat-related illnesses and the stages of heatstroke.” Another is to “Partner with medical professionals to educate student athletes about their bodies and how to know when enough is enough.”
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