University of Maryland President Wallace Loh admitted at a news conference on Tuesday that the school’s athletic training staff “misdiagnosed” the collapse of a 19-year-old football player and that their failures led to his death weeks later.
Loh said he apologized to Jordan McNair’s parents in a private meeting Tuesday morning for the team’s mishandling of their son’s medical needs.
“I wanted them to hear it directly from me this morning — the university accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made on that fateful workout day of May the 29th, which of course led subsequently to his death on June 13,” Loh told reporters.
“The university owes you an apology. You entrusted Jordan to our care and he is never returning home again,” he recalled saying to McNair’s parents.
McNair, a sophomore from Randallstown, Md., died two weeks after collapsing from heatstroke during practice on May 29. He reportedly had a temperature of 106 and was hospitalized following the incident. But a McNair family attorney said the team personnel was slow to seek medical attention. According to ESPN, they waited an hour after the offensive lineman suffered a seizure before calling 911.
During the news conference, Loh said that some of school’s policies and protocols “do not conform to best practices.” And that ultimately the athletic training staff “basically misdiagnosed the situation.”
According to the preliminary reports from an ongoing investigation launched by the university, no vital signs were taken and “other safeguards that should have been taken were not,” Loh said.
Athletic Director Damon Evans revealed that the athletic training staff failed to take McNair’s temperature following his seizure and “did not apply a cold water immersion treatment.”
Rick Court, who was reportedly leading McNair’s final conditioning workout, resigned as the team’s strength and conditioning coach on Monday. A day later Court tweeted out a copy of the resignation letter he said he submitted to school officials.