The University of Maryland has parted ways with athletic trainers Steve Nordwall and Wes Robinson, a university spokesperson confirmed to The Left Bench. The Washington Post first reported the firing.
The pair has been on administrative leave since August, and their firing is the latest of moves since the conclusion of two investigations following the June heatstroke death of Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair.
According to the spokesperson, “The trainers that were previously on administrative leave are no longer employed at the university.”
Following two ESPN reports that surfaced back-to-back in August, the first which detailed specifics from the May 29 workout where McNair suffered heatstroke, Nordwall and Robinson were placed on leave.
McNair was participating in an offseason workout that consisted of 10 110-yard sprints, a baseline conditioning test. He had difficulty completing the sprints and according to the ESPN report, at the conclusion of the 10th sprint, Robinson yelled, “Drag his ass across the field!”
The university hired Walters, Inc., a sports medicine consulting group, to conduct an external review into the practices and protocol of the training staff. Rod Walters, who led the investigation, released findings in September.
Walters concluded that the training staff failed to properly diagnose and treat McNair’s heatstroke in a swift amount of time. According to the 74-page report, one hour and seven minutes passed from the time McNair first showed symptoms of heatstroke to the moment 911 was called.
The training staff also failed to immerse McNair in cold water, a standard procedure to prevent heatstroke.
“The prehospital care of exertional heat illness should include rapid recognition, rapid assessment, rapid cooling and rapid advanced care within 30 minutes of the onset of symptoms,” Walters said at the September press conference.
Even after the release of the report, Nordwall and Robinson remained on leave, as a second investigation into the culture of the Maryland football program was still being conducted.
The findings from the second investigation were made public by the university’s Board of Regents on Oct. 30. While James Brady, who stepped down as chairman of the board on Nov. 1, announced the board recommended retaining head coach DJ Durkin and athletic director Damon Evans, the board also recommended keeping Nordwall and Robinson, according to The Washington Post.
When asked at the press conference about the status of the two athletic trainers, university President Wallace D. Loh said all personnel decisions fell under the jurisdiction of Evans.
After accepting the board’s recommendations – and subsequently announcing his retirement in June – Loh, under the pressure of students, fans and politicians, fired Durkin the very next day.
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