The tragic death stemmed from a workout on an 80-degree day, in which players ran 10 110-yard sprints. At the time, Maryland said that he completed the workout, but began showing troubling signs afterwards, leading the training staff to start “supporting active recovery.”
ESPN has published an article, with quotes from unnamed Terrapins players. Their stories don’t support what Maryland has said about the incident.
Last month, Jordan McNair’s family reported the cause of death as heatstroke. ESPN’s report confirms it, with more details.
From Heather Dinich’s report:
Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair showed signs of extreme exhaustion, had difficulty standing upright while running a set of 110-yard sprints and was found to have a body temperature of 106 degrees at a local hospital before he died of heatstroke suffered during a football workout, multiple sources told ESPN.
The 19-year-old from Randallstown, Maryland, collapsed during an outdoor Terrapins workout on May 29. He died two weeks later. No cause of death has been officially released, but ESPN has learned of an official heatstroke conclusion and new details about what happened to McNair based upon interviews with multiple sources in and close to the Terrapins program, as well as two witnesses to the workout.
In July, the McNair family launched a website to promote a foundation for heatstroke awareness among athletes, parents, and others in the football community. Heatstroke can occur when a person’s body hits 104 degrees. According to ESPN, McNair was at 106.
Players present at the workout told ESPN that McNair did not actually finish the final sprint by himself, but with multiple trainers essentially dragging him across the finish, after he already began exhibiting signs of serious fatigue.
“There’s no way he finished on his own,” one of the players at the workout told ESPN.
“There were multiple people that said, ‘Wow, Jordan looks f—ed up, he doesn’t look all right,’” the player said. “We knew he was really exhausted, but we didn’t know he was in danger of his life. But that doesn’t mean that a medical professional shouldn’t know to put him in an ice tub.”
Multiple sources said that after the 10th sprint finished, Wes Robinson, Maryland’s longtime head football trainer, yelled, “Drag his ass across the field!”
A second player at the workout told ESPN: “Jordan was obviously not in control of his body. He was flopping all around. There were two trainers on either side of him bearing a lot of weight. They interlocked their legs with his in order to keep him standing.”
After the sprints, the players say that trainers walked McNair around for upwards of 80 yards after he collapsed, rather than getting him to an ice tub. One said that he “barely had control over” his head as the trainers assisted him.
Maryland athletics staff has now been placed on administrative leave, according to another report.
BREAKING: Maryland has placed unnamed athletic staff members on administrative leave in the aftermath of Jordan McNair’s death, according to a university spokesperson, who declined to name them. “It’s a personnel issue.”
— Don Markus (@sportsprof56) August 10, 2018
An attorney for the McNair family told ESPN that a lawsuit is very likely. Considering these troubling details, that is completely unsurprising.