University of Maryland football offensive lineman Jordan McNair died of heatstroke suffered during an offseason team workout, according to the website of a foundation launched in his honor by the former McDonogh star’s parents.
McNair, 19, was hospitalized May 29 after an afternoon workout in College Park and died June 13. The university did not disclose his cause of death, citing privacy for the family. But in a description of the Jordan McNair Foundation on the organization’s website, McNair’s death is listed as heatstroke, a form of hyperthermia in which an individual’s body temperature rises to a dangerous level.
McNair's parents, Tonya Wilson and Martin McNair, established the foundation in the wake of their son's passing, according to the website. A call to the number listed on the website and an email to Martin McNair’s attorney were not immediately returned.
Maryland has hired Walters Inc., a sports medicine consulting firm, to conduct an external review of the team’s protocols related to McNair’s death. The review was set to begin by June 22, and could take up to 90 days.
“Maryland Athletics continues to mourn the passing of football player Jordan McNair and our thoughts remain with his family and friends,” a university spokesman said in a statement Monday. “The safety and well-being of our student-athletes is at all times the highest priority. At the university's request, Walters Incorporated is currently conducting an external review of all relevant policies and protocols involving student-athlete health and safety.”
In a letter on the foundation’s website signed by Martin McNair, he wrote: “Our plans did not include his death. Our plans included something more. Our plans included him. But God had other plans. Jordan gave us 19 great years, and we will miss him. He was a great son, grandson, cousin, nephew, brother, friend, student, roommate and teammate.”
He added that while "Jordan is not with us to build his legacy," his family asks to keep his "name and legacy alive" by supporting the foundation.
According to the website, a Baltimore-based Jordan McNair Training Facility will, beginning this fall, benefit the foundation. A Jordan McNair Scholarship Fund also has been established in his name, as has "My Body, My Safety," a program that seeks to educate student-athletes on heat-related illnesses.
From 1960 to 2017, there were 145 cases of heatstroke-related deaths in football players at all levels, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, with 90 percent of those deaths occurring during practice.
This story was featured in The Sun's Alexa Flash Briefing on July 16, 2018.