Report: UMd. president rejected proposal to overhaul health care for student-athletes last year

A new report is revealing that one year before University of Maryland football player Jordan McNair passed away after collapsing during a team workout, President Wallace Loh rejected a plan to overhaul how health care would be delivered to athletes.

According to the Washington Post, former athletic director Kevin Anderson sent a memo to Loh on May 19, 2017 about his proposal that sought to establish an independent medical care model that would have aligned more with NCAA recommendations.

The plan also called for athletic trainers to report to the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

"Wallace Loh had an opportunity to review a proposal by the athletic department to really overhaul the oversight into the medical training staff within the athletic department and to really adhere to suggestions that the NCAA had made to create autonomous athletic training and medical services for student-athletes," Washington Post reporter Roman Stubbs told FOX 5.

However, Loh rejected the proposal last August.

"According to three people with knowledge to the situation, President Loh did not want to concede control of the hiring process of medical personnel to another institution," said Stubbs.

The report is raising questions whether McNair would have received proper medical attention from the staff at the university if Loh approved the proposed plan.

On Tuesday, Maryland accepted "legal and moral responsibility" made by its athletic staff that contributed to McNair's death.

The university sent FOX 5 a statement in response to the Washington Post's report:

"The University of Maryland has a physician-directed healthcare model, which is widely adopted.

"Our licensed athletic training staff are currently supervised by our University of Maryland School of Medicine supervising physician. To avoid conflicts of interest, all physicians who supervise the athletic trainers are employed outside the Athletic Department. Consistent with best practices, our coaches do not have direct responsibility for the hiring or supervision of any member of the sports medicine staff.

"The proposal to outsource athletic trainers to another institution was made when our athletic trainers were already supervised by University of Maryland School of Medicine physicians. At the same time, because the trainers were university employees, we retained the ability to make necessary personnel decisions, as we did recently in placing members of our athletic training staff on administrative leave.

"The University of Maryland's commitment to safety is paramount and resolute. We have commissioned an independent expert to assess all of our policies and procedures affecting the health and safety of our student-athletes, and we have already changed our practices based on his preliminary observations and recommendations."

Over the past week, head coach DJ Durkin and two athletic trainers were placed on administrative leave while the team's strength and conditioning coach resigned.

McNair's parents are calling for Durkin to be fired, saying he "shouldn't be able to work with anyone else's kid."

The university's Board of Regents is set to hold a special meeting Friday morning to discuss the actions that have been taken since McNair's death.