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When culture literally is life or death

Tom Fox | August 15, 2018

What is tone at the top of an organization? What is the culture of your company? Fortunately, the answers to these questions are rarely involved when considering a death, but they were a key consideration in the death of University of Maryland football player Jordan McNair, the athlete who had a heat stroke and eventually died after participating in a workout that included 110-yard wind sprints. 

Due to NCAA rules, the workout was not overseen by the coaching staff but the team’s training staff, with head trainer Rick Court running the drills. It has been reported that Court did not think McNair was in a health crisis and accused him of “dogging it” when McNair collapsed and could not run any more sprints. More troubling was the training staff’s failure to follow standard medical protocols for the victim of a heat stroke by immediately cooling down the body in cold water or an ice bath. McNair’s body temperature was reported to have been reached 106 degrees. Also of concern...

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