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University of Maryland admits responsibility for football player's heatstroke death

The University of Maryland has accepted responsibility for the death of football player Jordan McNair, who died of heatstroke after overexerting himself at practice. (Image source: CBS This Morning video screenshot)

University of Maryland officials have admitted that the school is responsible for failing to properly treat a football player who suffered a heatstroke at practice and died two weeks later, according to ESPN.com.

Offensive lineman Jordan McNair, 19, was having trouble standing and breathing while the team was doing 110-yard sprints during a May 29 practice, and athletic director Damon Evans said McNair "did not receive appropriate medical care and mistakes were made by some of our athletic training personnel."

"As a father, there are no words to say to Jordan's parents that are good enough," Evans said Tuesday. "I have looked into the eyes of a grieving mother and father, and there is simply nothing good enough. We will honor Jordan's life, and we will ensure that a tragedy such as this never happens on our campus again — by working every single day to provide the safest environment for our student-athletes, on and off the field."

What did the university do wrong?

McNair family attorney Billy Murphy said McNair suffered a seizure at 5 p.m. on May 29, but claims that no coach or school staff member called 911 until an hour later. When McNair got to the hospital, he had a body temperature of 106 degrees.

The university disputes Murphy's timeline of events, but still admits that McNair's illness wasn't properly addressed.

"The care provided was not consistent with best practices, and heat illness was not properly identified or treated," Evans said.

An external investigation revealed that staff didn't take McNair's temperature at the workout, nor did they follow the established emergency response plan.

What are the consequences?

As a result of the tragedy and the findings of the investigation, strength and conditioning coach Rick Court resigned, and head coach DJ Durkin, head football athletic trainer Wes Robinson, and director of athletic training Steve Nordwall have all been placed on administrative leave.

"Make no mistake, we will not tolerate any behavior from any employee within Maryland athletics that is detrimental to the mental or physical well-being of our student-athletes," Evans said.

The football program has been under heavy scrutiny since ESPN reported Friday that there was a "culture of fear" marked by "intimidation, humiliation and verbal abuse" within the football program.

"It shows a cultural problem that Jordan [McNair] knew that if he stopped, they would challenge his manhood, he would be targeted," a current player told ESPN. "He had to go until he couldn't."

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