The University of Maryland announced on Thursday the members of a 10-person board that will meet annually to discuss the school’s medical care of its student-athletes.
With the formation of the board, which will meet for the first time in May, the university says it has implemented 19 of the 20 recommendations made by sports medicine consultant Rod Walters after the death of football player Jordan McNair from heatstroke last year.
Walters will lead the board, which consists of four other current and former athletic trainers, a strength coach, a nutritionist, a retired orthopedic surgeon, a team physician and a professor in this university’s business school. Board members will serve three-year terms.
The final recommendation pertains to the health care model as a whole, though exactly how the university will meet that recommendation is still being decided. The school is considering overhauling its sports medicine practices to put athletic trainers — who currently report to an associate athletic director at this university — under the purview of the University of Maryland medical school.
The current model is “very prevalent” in intercollegiate athletics, and shifting power to the medical school is “not mandatory,” Walters wrote in the report. But the university lacked clarity and consistency with its chains of command and organizational charts. Fixing those issues while maintaining the current model could also meet the recommendation.
Some members of the group have already been on campus as part of their work with a separate, smaller committee dedicated to overseeing the autonomy of the overall healthcare model.
Walters is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame and is the CEO of Walters Inc., the sports medicine consulting company the university contracted to review the circumstances surrounding McNair’s death.
He is joined on the board by University of Georgia athletic trainer Ron Courson, NATA Hall of Fame member and former Minnesota State trainer Cynthia “Sam” Booth and current Boston University trainer Mark Laursen.
One of the board members, Dr. Robert Peele, worked with Walters previously at the University of South Carolina. Peele served as the Gamecocks’ team orthopedist and chief physician from 1983 to 2001, overlapping with Walters’ tenure as head athletic trainer for 12 years.
Radford strength coach Scott Bennett is also on the board. He previously served on the board of directors of the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Association and the NCAA Committee for Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, along with Courson.
The nutritionist is Jennifer Brunelli, a former All-American swimmer who has worked as the Carolina Panthers’ sports dietitian for seven years.
Board member Matt Leiszler has been Notre Dame’s head football team physician since 2014.
University of Maryland business school professor Scott Barnes is also on the board. Barnes has been an operations management assistant professor since 2012, and has also served as a faculty affiliate in the math department. His research focuses on health care analytics and infectious disease modeling, among other areas.
The 10th member is Ed Strapp, a Maryland State Police trooper and flight paramedic who is also a certified athletic trainer.