A new Athletic Medicine Review Board (AMRB) led by national sports medicine expert Rod Walters and comprising experts from across the athletic, medical and legal professions will independently review student-athlete health and welfare policies and best practices, Maryland Athletics announced yesterday.

“Our mission is to ensure that every single student-athlete at the University of Maryland receives the best possible care,” said Athletic Director Damon Evans. “I am grateful that this distinguished group will bring their expertise to reviewing our practices across the full spectrum of student-athlete care and well-being as part of our commitment to ensuring that best practices and policies are adhered to every day on our campus.”

The formation of the AMRB fulfills a recommendation outlined in the external safety review led by Walters and completed last fall following the death of sophomore offensive lineman Jordan McNair. With yesterday’s announcement, Maryland Athletics has completed 19 of the 20 recommendations in the Walters report, with work under way on the final one.

“I appreciate the University of Maryland’s full embrace of the recommendations made last fall, and look forward to continuing to work with them in support of the well-being of their student-athletes,” said Walters. “This board will bring some of the most insightful professionals from across the country to College Park to further work with current staff specific to best practices and current standards.”

The board’s expertise spans the field including athletics, athletic training, physicians, injury prevention and sports performance, legal, and medical ethics. Members will serve a three-year term and meet annually. They are:

Rod Walters, CEO of Walters Inc., who has worked in athletic training for nearly 40 years. He served as the University of South Carolina’s assistant athletic director for sports medicine before launching his own firm in 2007. Inducted into the National Athletic Trainers Association’s Hall of Fame in 2005, he is also a member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.   

Sean Barnes, an assistant professor of operations management in the Robert H. Smith School of Business. His research interests include infectious disease modeling, healthcare analytics, agent-based modeling and simulation, machine learning and data visualization.

Scott Bennett has over 25 years of experience in the strength and conditioning field, currently serving as Radford University’s head strength and conditioning coach. He was the first strength coach to be invited as an ex officio member of the NCAA Committee for Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.

Cynthia “Sam” Booth, a certified athletic trainer for 36 years before retiring her credential in 2017, holding positions at the University of Kansas, West Virginia University and Minnesota State University–Moorhead. She worked as a health care administrator for 12 years and has 35 years of university teaching experience. She was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2006.

Jennifer Brunelli, a seven-time All American swimmer and Hall of Fame athlete who owns RDpro LLC, a nutrition consulting business in North Carolina. She is in her seventh year with the Carolina Panthers as the sports dietitian working with the players, as well as serving as the sports dietitian for the NASCAR team, Roush Fenway Racing.

Ron Courson, director of sports medicine with the University of Georgia Athletic Association since 1995. He has also served as president of the SEC Sports Medicine Committee, chairman of the College and University Athletic Trainers' Committee of the National Athletic Trainers' Association and member of the NCAA Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports committee. He was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2013.

Mark Laursen, director of athletic training services at Boston University for 11 years while teaching as a clinical associate professor of athletic training. In 2007, he was named NCAA Division IAA National Head Athletic Trainer of the Year.

Dr. Matt Leiszler, head football team physician at the University of Notre Dame. Leiszler graduated from Harvard University, where he was a running back. He finished medical school at the University of Kansas School of Medicine and completed both a residency in family medicine and a fellowship in sports medicine at the University of Colorado, and was a faculty member at the University of Colorado Hospital.  

Dr. Robert Peele, team orthopedist and chief physician for the University of South Carolina Athletic Department from 1983 to 2001. He attended medical school at Wake Forest University’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine; and completed his residency in orthopaedics at the Medical University of South Carolina; and his sports medicine fellowship under Dr. Jack Hughston.  

Ed Strapp, a Maryland State Police trooper and flight paramedic. He is also a certified athletic trainer who regularly presents on the emergency care aspect of athletic training at local, regional and national conferences.