Jordan McNair was an emerging 19-year-old lineman for the University of Maryland Terrapins football team who died of heatstroke that began amid summer practice drills. The sophomore was 6’4” and 325 pounds. Moments following heavy exercise, he began struggling and was rushed to the hospital where he later died. An autopsy was not performed by the state’s examiner and the school has yet to formally report a cause of death; however, his surviving family members assert that he endured heatstroke. The family is pursuing a civil claim of wrongful death according to the Washington Post.
McNair was recruited heavily by college scouts while in high school. He chose to attend Maryland over Penn State, Ohio State, Rutgers and other programs. According to university records, the team began working out that day at approximately 4:15 p.m. amid 80-degree heat. Several team officials noticed that McNair seemed to be experiencing physical difficulties immediately following the workout. He was briefly examined in the team training room before emergency responders were summoned to transport him to the local hospital.
The university has since hired a medical consulting group to investigate and evaluate the team’s safety protocols and response procedures. An attorney for the McNair family feels that the team staff should have more clearly recognized the symptoms that McNair was exhibiting and acted sooner. Coach D.J. Durkin expressed feelings that McNair was an “incredible young man” and a “beloved member” of the Maryland team. The university further stated that he was an inspiring individual and a “brave fighter”.
Since 1960, there have been an estimated 145 football players that have died of heatstroke. In recent years, the University of Florida, Florida State University (FSU) and the University of Central Florida (UCF) have all had similar tragedies. One fatality at UCF led to a civil suit where the university refused to settle for $4.7 million and ended with them being ordered to pay $10 million. A case at FSU involving the death of Devaughn Darling was settled for roughly $2 million.
Maryland law allows for survivors of the deceased to pursue damages for deaths that are deemed to have been the result of an individual or organization’s negligence. These claims are typically brought by spouses, children, etc. The state’s statute of limitations for bringing such a claim is generally three-years; however, exceptions exist under rare circumstances. The majority of these cases stem from automobile accidents, medical errors, defective products, and workplace hazards. It is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney when considering these legal actions.
Many deaths resulting from negligence are believed to go unreported, mostly in situations where the family of the deceased is not aware of the circumstances leading to the fatality. Proving wrongful death may require investigation and assistance from medical experts. There are a variety of pursuable damages in these cases, which are classified into two primary categories. Economic damages are quantifiable in nature and include loss of financial support, losses of benefits, and burial costs. Noneconomic damages are those such as pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of companionship.