Maryland, despite board recommendation, fires two trainers who failed to treat Jordan McNair

Maryland players gather at a No. 79 painted on the field in remembrance of offensive lineman <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaab/players/144714/" data-ylk="slk:Jordan McNair">Jordan McNair</a>, who died after collapsing on a practice field during a spring practice, before an NCAA college football game against Illinois, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Maryland players gather at a No. 79 painted on the field in remembrance of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who died after collapsing on a practice field during a spring practice, before an NCAA college football game against Illinois, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Common sense has prevailed.

According to the Washington Post and ESPN, the two Maryland athletic trainers put on administrative leave following the death of Jordan McNair are no longer employees of the university.

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Maryland confirmed the news to the Post: “The trainers that were previously on administrative leave are no longer employed at the university.”

Last week, the Post reported that Maryland’s board of regents recommended retaining director of athletic training Steve Nordwall and head football trainer Wes Robinson just like it did with head coach D.J. Durkin. A day after the decision to keep Durkin was announced, university president Wallace Loh reversed course and fired Durkin, who was also on leave as the culture of his football program was investigated.

Despite the board’s recommendation, no official decision on Nordwall and Robinson’s employment had been reported in the days since. When asked about Nordwall and Robinson at an Oct. 30 press conference — the same press conference that initially detailed the decision to keep Durkin — Loh said athletic director Damon Evans is responsible for staff decisions in the athletic department.

Ultimately, Nordwall and Robinson were fired this week.

Trainers failed to identify ‘escalating symptoms’ of McNair

McNair collapsed during a May 29 workout and suffered exertional heat stroke. He died June 13 at the age of 19.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding McNair’s death was conducted and found that the Maryland football training staff did not follow proper protocols in addressing McNair’s symptoms, nor did the school have proper equipment to cool an athlete of McNair’s size. Had McNair’s symptoms been identified more promptly, “it might have changed things,” according to Dr. Rod Walters, who led the investigation.

“The injury evaluation did not include any assessment or documentation of vital signs, including core temperature. There was a failure to identify escalating symptoms associated with exertional heat illness, including assessing vital signs, identifying the condition and aggressively treating the patient’s elevated core temperature. No apparatus was used for prompt cooling of the patient. Inadequate cooling devices were used,” Walters said.

Walters’ report said that Nordwall did not report McNair’s status up the chain to his supervisor until an hour after McNair’s initial symptoms. Robinson, an employee of Maryland since 2006, reportedly yelled, “drag his a– off the field” while McNair struggled to complete sprints.

In an August press conference, Loh, who will retire in June, said the university accepted “legal and moral responsibility” for the “mistakes” the “training staff made on that fateful day of May 29.”

James Brady, the chair of the board of regents, resigned last week.

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