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UMD Announces Partnership With Jordan McNair Foundation

Effort to Raise Awareness of Student-Athlete Health, Safety

By Maryland Today Staff

UMD football players hold McNair jersey

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland football team captains carry Jordan McNair's jersey onto the field before the home opener vs. Texas in 2018. A new partnership between the university and Jordan McNair Foundation will focus on raising awareness of student-athletes' health.

The University of Maryland and Jordan McNair Foundation are joining together on a series of initiatives to honor the life and legacy of the Maryland football player who died following a 2018 team workout.

The partnership, announced today as the state Board of Public Works approved an agreement with the McNair family, will focus on student-athlete health and safety. A program in Jordan’s honor, jointly managed by the University Health Center and Maryland Athletics, will cover important topics such as heat exertion, concussions, mental health and nutrition. 

Jordan McNair headshot“There is nothing more important for our student-athletes than their health and safety,” said university President Darryll J. Pines. “In partnership with the Jordan McNair Foundation, we will cement Jordan’s legacy and enhance a culture of player safety that will forever be a hallmark of Maryland Athletics.” 

The Maryland football program has also established the Jordan M. McNair Award for Courage, to be presented annually to the player who reflects the spirit of McNair by showing great professionalism athletically and academically, dedication to his team, strength in the face of immense adversity, as well as courage and conviction to do the right thing. 

Maryland Athletics will also name the Offensive Line Room in Cole Field House in his honor.

“The legacy of Jordan McNair continues to have a profound impact on Maryland Athletics and our entire One Maryland community,” said Maryland Athletic Director Damon Evans. “Building on the valued personal relationships we have with Jordan’s parents, we are proud to call the Jordan McNair Foundation an official partner of Maryland Athletics and look forward to the important work we will accomplish together.”

Maryland Athletics will also partner with the Jordan McNair Foundation on other marketing and other initiatives designed to raise awareness of student-athlete health and safety issues. 

McNair, a sophomore kinesiology major and Terps lineman, collapsed from heatstroke on campus and died 15 days later. Following two independent external reviews, Maryland Athletics implemented a series of reforms.

“This partnership will not only continue Jordan’s legacy, but will create a lasting impact on the health and safety of all current and future student-athletes here at Maryland and across the world,” said Maryland Head Coach Michael Locksley. “I want to personally thank Jordan’s parents, Marty and Tonya, for their selfless leadership in partnering with the University of Maryland to create something tangible that will educate and positively impact so many. Jordan will always be a part of our Maryland Football family.” 

“Today’s unprecedented settlement and partnership with the University of Maryland further emphasize that our son’s tragic death will not be in vain," said Marty McNair, Jordan's father. "We are now focused on honoring Jordan's legacy. This includes protecting student-athletes at all levels of competition; increasing awareness, education and prevention of all heat-related illnesses; and empowering student-athletes, and Dr. Darryll Pines has assured Tonya and me that this work is as meaningful to the university and athletic department as it is to us."

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