As part of response to Jordan McNair's death, Maryland athletics announces formation of independent medical review board

As part of response to Jordan McNair's death, Maryland athletics announces formation of independent medical review board
In this Sept. 15, 2018, file photo, spectators hold signs in remembrance of Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who died two weeks after collapsing on a practice field during a spring practice, before a game between Maryland and Temple, in College Park. (Patrick Semansky / AP)

Nearly 10 months after the death of football player Jordan McNair, the Maryland athletic department announced Thursday the formation of a 10-person independent medical review board that will review policies regarding athlete health and welfare, including best practices typically recommended by the NCAA.

The board, made up of current and former athletic trainers and medical professionals, will be headed by Rod Walters, a former athletic trainer who was hired by Maryland last summer to conduct an external safety review following McNair’s death.


McNair, a redshirt freshman offensive lineman from Randallstown, died June 13, a little less than two weeks after suffering heatstroke during a team conditioning test in College Park. McNair was 19.

“Our mission is to ensure that every single student-athlete at the University of Maryland receives the best possible care,” athletic director Damon Evans said in a statement released by the athletic department.

“I am grateful that this distinguished group will bring their expertise to reviewing our practices across the full spectrum of student-athlete care and well-being as part of our commitment to ensuring that best practices and policies are adhered to every day on our campus.”

The board will be made up of three trainers — Ron Courson of Georgia, Matt Laursen of Boston University and Cynthia “Sam” Booth, who retired in 2016 after 36 years as a certified trainer. She was selected to the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame.

Also on the board are Scott Bennett, the strength coach at Radford, retired orthopedic surgeon Robert Peele, Carolina Panthers nutritionist and former All-American swimmer Jennifer Brunelli, Notre Dame team physician Matt Leiszler, as well as two with local ties, Sean Barnes, an assistant professor of operations management at Maryland; and Ed Strapp, a trooper and flight paramedic for the Maryland State Police.

“I appreciate the University of Maryland’s full embrace of the recommendations made last fall, and look forward to continuing to work with them in support of the well-being of their student-athletes,” Walters said in a statement. “This board will bring some of the most insightful professionals from across the country to College Park to further work with current staff specific to best practices and current standards.”

University of Maryland medical review board

Rod Walters, CEO of Walters Inc.

Ron Courson, University of Georgia athletic trainer

Cynthia “Sam” Booth, former college athletic trainer

Mark Laursen, Boston University athletic trainer

Dr. Robert Peele, retired orthopaedic surgeon

Scott Bennett, Radford University strength coach

Jennifer Brunelli, Carolina Panthers & Roush Fenway Racing nutritionist

Dr. Matt Leiszler, Notre Dame team physician


Sean Barnes, University of Maryland operations management expert

Ed Strapp, Maryland State Police Trooper/Flight Paramedic