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Our Commitment to Student-Athletes

Dear University of Maryland community,

I would like to share with you this update following today’s Board of Regents meeting on the tragic death of our student-athlete Jordan McNair. In August, Athletic Director Damon Evans and I met with Jordan’s parents to apologize personally for the mistakes made in Jordan’s care by our athletic trainers.

In June, we retained a national expert in sports medicine and athletic training, Rod Walters, to conduct a comprehensive review of the policies and protocols related to the health and safety of our student-athletes. We requested recommendations on what changes should be made to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again. We are committed to this. 

The entire Board of Regents received the final report from Rod Walters today. Since he was retained, he has been also advising the Athletic Department on needed improvements, and they have already begun implementing some of his recommendations even before receiving the final report. 

Actions to improve the safety of the training and conditioning sessions include: adopting new technology to improve how we monitor the ambient temperature and modify practices accordingly; implementing mandatory hydration testing and emphasizing longer and more frequent recovery breaks. The Athletic Department also increased the number of doctors and trainers present at football practices and games. In July, Rod Walters began expanded training for the staff on the implementation of the emergency action plan. An online portal was established so that our student-athletes could share any concerns. The Walters report highlighted the fact that we have a physician-directed model for athletics trainers, who are licensed by the state and are under the supervision of a licensed physician. 

There are additional recommendations in the final report, such as establishing an athletic medicine review board that will review procedures and protocols regarding student-athlete safety. The Athletic Department has committed to implementing all of the recommendations. 

Our actions, and our commitments, are available at www.umd.edu/commitment

The Board of Regents also assumed control in August of a separate commission investigating allegations surrounding the culture of our football program. The Chair of the Board of Regents announced today that results of this commission will be forthcoming. 

The safety and well-being of our students remains paramount. I will continue to update our community on all of these efforts. 

Sincerely,

Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland