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Jordan McNair's Death By Heatstroke Sparks New Legislation To Protect College Athletes

An unfortunate football death has led to student-athletes potentially being a little safer.

Jordan McNair
Photo Credit: 247Sports

On Tuesday, US Congressman Kweisi Mfume (MD-07) introduced the Jordan McNair Student Athlete Heat Fatality Prevention Act in the House of Representatives, according to a press release. The act was also introduced by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) in the United States Senate.

Serving as a lifeline for student-athletes, the legislation “requires college athletic programs to create, implement, and rehearse specific heat illness emergency action plans (EAPs) in consultation with local emergency responders, including the operation and use of cold-water immersion equipment in order to avoid heat-related illnesses and fatalities.”

This legislation commemorates the late Jordan McNair, who at the University of Maryland football team as a freshman collapsed from a heatstroke during practice on May 29, 2018.

Unfortunately, close to 90 minutes passed before McNair arrived at a nearby hospital in critical condition. He was airlifted to the University of Maryland Medical Center Shock Trauma Center in an effort to receive an emergency liver transplant, but he passed away just two weeks later.

"The safety of college athletes must always be of the utmost importance, and we cannot neglect that these students are someone's children. As all parents can relate to, the well-being of our children will always be a constant worry as they venture on to become young adults, Congressman Mfume said. “I hold a special place in my heart for all student athletes and feel as though we have not been as attentive to their vulnerabilities as we ought to be. We can, and should, do more as a society for student athletes other than just cheer them on from the stands. This legislation, honoring Jordan’s story, is my effort to give parents and players alike the peace of mind that their health is accounted for during their journey in collegiate sports,” he concluded. “Jordan McNair’s death was avoidable. We owe it to him and his family to do everything we can to ensure such a tragedy is not repeated,” Senator Cardin said. “Awareness of the warning signs, coupled with strong and consistent emergency procedures are important for keeping our student-athletes healthy, especially in extreme temperatures. I thank the McNair family for channeling the pain of their loss into a mission to help coaches, student athletes, and parents identify symptoms of heatstroke and heat-related illnesses. The University of Maryland has taken important steps in line with this legislation, and we want to ensure that other athletic programs do the same.”

The investigation conducted immediately following Jordan McNair’s death showed the athletic staff, in fact, didn’t pursue aggressive measures to lower his body temperature.

According to a press release, Congressman Mfume’s Jordan McNair Student Athlete Heat Fatality Prevention Act will make sure college athletic programs do in fact have heat emergency plans in action and cold-water immersion equipment “so preventable tragedies like Jordan’s and the story of so many other student-athletes won’t happen again.”


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