Former Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who passed away June 13 at the age of 19, was hospitalized following an organized team workout May 29, according to interim Maryland athletic director Damon Evans, who declined to reveal the cause of McNair's death.
Maryland held a news conference June 14, during which Evans, head football coach DJ Durkin and team physician Dr. R. Frank Henn were present. Evans answered all questions from reporters. The news conference aired on Big Ten Network.
The workout began around 4:15 p.m. and was run by the team's strength and conditioning staff, according to Evans, who said the Terps' trainers noticed McNair was struggling to recover after completing "one-tens," a conditioning drill involving 110-yard sprints. McNair was then taken to the training room at Gossett Team House, according to Evans. The team later called 9-1-1, which led to Emergency Medical Services arriving to care for McNair, who was transported to the hospital at 6 p.m.
Evans said "all of our team members who were eligible did participate in this activity. This is a baseline conditioning test that we have done previously, that was put into place by our certified strength coach and his staff." Evans said the workout took place on Maryland's practice fields during what he described as an 80-degree day. He also said the players were provided a gallon of water in the morning.
"Our staff noticed [McNair] was having difficulties," Evans said. "They immediately went to Jordan, began supporting active recovery and transported him into the Team House for further evaluation and continued care, and as I stated before, out of respect and confidentiality for the parents and the family, those are the details I can provide at this time."
A GoFundMe set up for McNair's family June 5 indicated McNair was airlifted to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma in Baltimore, where he received a liver transplant and was fighting for his life. News of McNair's death spread on social media June 13, with his teammates sharing their grief about the loss.
Evans said Maryland will be doing an external review of what occurred, though he said he declined to say who the university is pairing with for the review.
"The prudent thing to do and the right thing to do when a situation like this arises is to do a review, to make sure that the proper protocols were followed," Evans said. "We believe that it's important to bring in an external group to conduct the review. We started that process of discussing from the moment Jordan was hospitalized, and we will have a team that will provide us the necessary feedback so we can move forward.
"… I need to state that the health and the safety and the welfare of our student-athletes is of the utmost importance. As I stated earlier, it's important that we review this situation to make sure that we are doing things the proper way, to best position ourselves and make people feel comfortable. It's the right thing to do, and we will conduct that review and we will learn from that review."
McNair was a 6-foot-4, 325-pound offensive tackle who was set to be a sophomore in College Park, Md., this fall. McNair was a highly regarded recruit out of McDonogh and chose Maryland over a host of big-name schools, like Penn State and Ohio State. He played in one game as a freshman.
"My heart is broken for the reason that we're all even sitting here, having this press conference," a very emotional Durkin said. "You look for reasons. It's not reasonable that a 19-year-old should pass away. It's not reasonable that a family, parents … his parents, Marty and Tonya, should ever have to go through this. Jordan was such a tremendous person. As big as he was stature wise, his heart was much bigger. He had a great way about him, a quiet smile. It was hard to get a word out of him, but it was also hard to have a conversation with him without bringing a smile to your own face."