Player’s heat stroke death sparks health campaign


BALTIMORE — It’s been nearly four years since the death of Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair.

The 19-year-old man died from a heatstroke back in 2018.

Since then, the Jordan McNair Foundation has been working to raise awareness of heat-related injuries across the country.

Today, the organization launched its new partnership with Morgan State University.

“Listen to your bodies” is the message Marty McNair, the father of Jordan McNair, is drilling into the minds of student-athletes.

“We’re here to learn about football but also to learn about the importance to take care of your bodies,” according to Morgan State University football coach Damon Wilson.

Marty said that he educates people on how to keep student-athletes safe and about new legislation in place.

Marty said he wishes he knew about such things before his son died.

“When I used to bring Jordan to these things, all I did was sit in the stands . . . There was no parent safety education,” Marty said.

After Jordan died, his family turned their pain into purpose. They have been devoted to raising awareness about heat-related injuries and student-athlete safety.

Student-athletes like 10-year-old Evan Badgley spent their morning learning drills from Morgan State University football players and learning about heat-related injuries.

“You never know what could happen . . . you always got to prep yourself,” Badgley said.

The health information has been helpful to parents too.

“My son’s been playing for five years . . . I didn’t even know these things existed,’ parent Amber Duckett said.

Badgley said he learned a lot from the clinic.

“If you need to rest, then you could take a rest,” Badgley said. “There’s always going to be a next play and if you don’t do that, then there might not ever be a next play.”

The McNair family hopes to continue expanding partnerships with HBCU schools, not just across Maryland but across the nation.

Amy Kawata

Amy Kawata joined the WJZ News team in January 2020 as a reporter.