Report: Maryland board recommended keeping trainers who failed to adequately treat Jordan McNair

Not only did Maryland’s board of regents recommend reinstating head coach D.J. Durkin, it also recommended bringing back the trainers who failed to adequately treat Jordan McNair.

McNair, a Maryland offensive lineman, suffered exertional heat stroke during a May 29 conditioning workout and died June 13. An investigation into McNair’s death determined that the football training staff did not follow proper protocols in addressing McNair’s symptoms.

Nonetheless, according to the Washington Post, the board recommended retaining director of athletic training Steve Nordwall and head football trainer Wes Robinson, both of whom have been on administrative leave since August.

Per the Post, the university “has not acted” on this particular recommendation. When asked about the employment of the trainers during Tuesday’s press conference, Maryland president Wallace Loh said athletic director Damon Evans is responsible for all staff in the athletic department.

“He will make that decision,” Loh said.

Investigation: Trainers failed to identify ‘escalating symptoms’ of McNair

The investigation into the events surrounding McNair’s death was chaired by Dr. Rod Walters. In a September press conference, Walters said Maryland had adequate policies in place to treat exertional heat illness, but the trainers did not identify the severity of McNair’s symptoms quickly enough. The school also did not have proper equipment to cool an athlete of McNair’s size.

“While there was a delay in identifying the severity of the symptoms, once these symptoms were identified, there were efforts to cool the patient and address the respiratory concerns,” Walters said.

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Former Maryland football coach D.J. Durkin
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Former Maryland football coach D.J. Durkin
LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach DJ Durkin of the Maryland Terrapins watches action before the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach DJ Durkin of the Maryland Terrapins watches action against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Maryland 28-7. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach DJ Durkin of the Maryland Terrapins celebrates with Mike London after a victory against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on November 26, 2016 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach DJ Durkin of the Maryland Terrapins is doused with Gatorade after a victory against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on November 26, 2016 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 26: Maryland Terrapins head football coach D. J. Durkin watches the action during the game against the Boston College Eagles at Ford Field on December 26, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 24: Maryland Football head coach DJ Durkin takes questions during the Big 10 Football Media Days on July 24, 2017 at Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 02: Head coach D.J. Durkin of the Maryland Terrapins reacts on the sideline in the fourth quarter against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 2, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 9: Maryland Terrapins head coach DJ Durkin south from the sidelines during the game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Towson Tigers at Capital One Field on Saturday, September 9, 2017. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 07: Maryland Terrapins head coach DJ Durkin questions an official after his quarterback was injured during third quarter game action between the Maryland Terrapins and the Ohio State Buckeyes (10) on October 7, 2017 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State leads Maryland 55-7 at the end of the third quarter . (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - OCTOBER 28: Maryland Terrapins wide receiver D.J. Moore (1) is congratulated by head coach D. J. Durkin after catching a two yard touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers on October 28, 2017, at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium in College Park, MD. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - OCTOBER 28: Under Armour founder Kevin Plank talks with Head Coach DJ Durkin of the Maryland Terrapins before the game against the Indiana Hoosiers on October 28, 2017 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 25: Maryland Terrapins head coach D. J. Durkin in action on November 25, 2017, at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium in College Park, MD. The Penn State Nittany Lions defeated the Maryland Terrapins, 66-3. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - APRIL 3: Maryland head coach DJ Durkin looks on during spring football practice. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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“The injury evaluation did not include any assessment or documentation of vital signs, including core temperature. There was a failure to identify escalating symptoms associated with exertional heat illness, including assessing vital signs, identifying the condition and aggressively treating the patient’s elevated core temperature. No apparatus was used for prompt cooling of the patient. Inadequate cooling devices were used.”

Had McNair’s symptoms been identified more quickly, “it might have changed things,” Walters said.

Board recommended keeping Durkin, president decided otherwise

It has been a tumultuous time at Maryland in the months after McNair’s death.

In addition to the investigation into the school’s athletic training protocols, another investigation looked into the culture of Durkin’s football program. An ESPN report characterized the culture under Durkin as “toxic.” Maryland’s investigation did not use the word “toxic,” but did say that problems “festered because too many players feared speaking out.”

Durkin, who was also on administrative leave since August, initially returned to his role this week following the board’s recommendation. However, Loh reversed course and fired him Wednesday after widespread criticism of the board’s actions.

The Terps, 5-3 on the season, will continue playing under interim head coach Matt Canada. The team can clinch bowl eligibility with a win over Michigan State at home on Saturday.

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