University of Maryland reaches $3.5 million settlement with football player Jordan McNair’s family

The University of Maryland has reached a $3.5 million settlement with the family of Jordan McNair, the offensive lineman who died after suffering heatstroke during a team workout in 2018.

The details of the settlement became known Friday as part of the meeting agenda for the Maryland Board of Public Works, which is expected to approve the agreement on January 27.

“This has been a long and painful fight, but we will attempt to find closure even though this is a wound that will never, ever fully heal,” Jordan’s parents, Marty McNair and Tonya Wilson, said in a joint statement, according to ESPN.

McNair, 19, died on June 13, weeks after taking part in an off-season conditioning session at Maryland’s turf outdoor practice field in late May.

An independent medical report found several issues with his treatment, including failure to assess his vital signs, not having proper cooling devices and failure to recognize quickly he was having heat illness. More than an hour passed before a football trainer called 911 after McNair first showed symptoms of heatstroke.

“We are focused on honoring Jordan’s legacy so that his death was not in vain. This includes protecting student athletes of all levels of competition, increasing awareness, education, and prevention of all heat-related illnesses, empowering student athletes, and introducing legislation nationwide so that no parent should have to wait this long for closure where their child has been treated unfairly or unjustly,” the parents’ statement to ESPN added.

On May 29, 2018, McNair was taken from the field, where the air temperature was 81 degrees, at 5:22 p.m. That was 34 minutes after he said he was having cramps and was bending over at the waist, according to the report.

About 28 minutes after he was taken from the field, McNair’s mood dramatically worsened — a sign of heatstroke — and a trainer called the team doctor, who advised calling 911, the report said.

In August 2018, Athletic Director Damon Evans and then-university President Wallace D. Loh apologized to McNair’s family during a meeting in Baltimore. Loh had said he told the family the “university accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made on that fateful workout day.”

“The university owes you an apology. You entrusted Jordan to our care, and he is never returning home,” he added.

And D.J. Durkin, who was the head coach at Maryland when McNair died was fired in October 2018 by Loh.

“This is not at all a reflection of my opinion of Coach Durkin as a person. However, a departure is in the best interest of the university,” Loh had said.

Since McNair’s death, the university has added cooling stations, started testing players’ hydration at practice, increased the length of breaks, put more trainers and doctors at events. Staff have also received more training.

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