University System of Maryland Releases Additional Text from Walters Inc. Report
Baltimore, Md. (Sept. 22, 2018) – The University System of Maryland (USM) today released additional text from the report prepared by Dr. Rod Walters and shared publicly Friday into the circumstances related to the tragic death of University of Maryland, College Park student-athlete Jordan McNair.
The USM first received the report Thursday evening. The USM Board of Regents was first briefed early Friday afternoon, and the report was made public later Friday afternoon. In that time frame, and in an abundance of caution, preliminary redaction decisions were made in accordance with Maryland law to protect, among other things, privileged communications and confidential personnel and medical information.
In the hours since, the USM has had the opportunity to revisit those preliminary decisions and has determined that no redactions are necessary for this section of the report. Remaining redactions protect confidential personnel information and medical information about students.
The following, previously redacted text is copied and pasted from the end of page 51 to the beginning of page 55 of the report, with page numbers included as they are reflected at the bottom of each page of this section of the original report. The report will be updated online Monday.
Proposed Medical Model
In May 2017, the former Athletics Director proposed to the University President that athletic
training be transitioned to the medical school, representing a medical model for student-athlete healthcare. Documents related to this issue include the Athletic Director’s letter requesting transfer of Athletic Training to the School of Medicine, referenced as Appendix I. Correspondence
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and question and answer routines are listed in Appendix J. The questions and potential questions, scenarios that needed to be addressed and understood as the proposal were exchanged between the President and Athletic Director.
The former Athletic Director’s request to "transition athletic department athletic trainers
and physical therapists" to the proposed new program in Sports Medicine, with "reporting lines
up through UMB School of Medicine Department of Orthopedics" were sent to the President in
May 2017. This new request was preceded by another proposal more than a year earlier, which
was also rejected, in which the Athletic Director wanted to terminate the contract with UMB for
medical services and begin a new contract with MedStar. The Athletic Director’s interest in
MedStar was reported as a financial one in that MedStar promised funding for Athletics if they
switched contract from UMB to MedStar. The University of Maryland had a significant and
growing partnership with UMB and the President did not want to damage it by switching to
MedStar and consequently rejected this proposal.
The points the Athletic Director made to transition personnel responsibilities of athletic
trainers to UMB were the following:
1. UMB and UMCP were in the process of launching a new integrated program in Sports Medicine "to bring resources and expertise under one umbrella aimed at improving patient care, staff education and clinical research in the care of athletic conditions and injuries.”
2. This partnership (under the MPowering the state initiative) "positions the U Intercollegiate
Athletics Department in better alignment with the NCAA's best practice recommendation for
establishing an independent medical care model to manage student-athlete injuries and illnesses.”
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Anticipated benefits included:
1. This new organizational structure will directly align athletic trainer licensure oversight with
their supervising physician per state regulations.
2. The new administrative structure provides for the "unchallengeable autonomous authority" of primary athletics health care providers (defined as the team physicians and athletic trainers) to have final decision-making authority with regard to the diagnosis, management and return-to-play determinations for student athlete care.
3. The new program improves communication between all medical providers with simultaneous
access to a single medical documentation system.
Further communication ensued seeking clarification about what would actually change
from the current physician-directed model. The President’s Chief of Staff met with the Athletic
Director and the Associate Athletic Director for Sports Performance to further understand the
changes and what the benefits would be, and subsequently reported back to the President.
The following factors were identified in making the decision to reject the proposal:
1. The athletic licensure oversight by UMB physicians was already in place. Nothing there
2. The athletic trainers were already subject to medical direction and supervision by UMB
docs, consistent with NCAA best practices. Medical decisions were already made by doctors
and athletic trainers. Coaches did not hire or fire athletic trainers, nor did they provide any
medical direction to the athletic trainers.
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3. In the written response to the President, and in the request to make the change itself, the Athletic Director stated that daily roles and responsibilities for athletic trainers would remain unchanged.
4. The Athletic Director also stated that supervision and clinical medical care would be independent of any influence of the UMCP athletic department. However, when asked what influence ICA currently had over supervision and clinical medical care, the Athletic Director was unable to validate this with an example.
5. The athletic trainers would no longer be UMCP employees but rather employees of another
institution with different fiscal year calendars and possible benefits. Nothing had been discussed with the athletic trainers in advance about potentially changing their employment.
6. The athletic trainers' reporting lines are to the Assistant Athletic Director of Athletic Training
through the Associate Athletic Director for Sports Performance and up to the UMB doctors.
The Assistant Athletic Director of Athletic Training are directly responsible for the recruitment
and termination of medical staff employees. The Associate Athletic Director for Sports Performance was expected to remain in his position under the new structure to foster collaboration and cooperation in many areas including physician services and athletic training.
7. One perceived downfall of the transition would have been that UMCP would have lost the authority to hire, discipline and/or fire athletic trainers because these athletic trainers would have become employees of another institution.
8. At the time of this request, the Athletic Director identified only two other Power 5 schools had made the change to outsource full control to their medical school, both of which had medical schools as part of their institutions.
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The President notified the Athletic Director of the decision and identified the primary
reason, which was the concern regarding outsourcing personnel to a separate institution. The
President left open the possibility of making the change once the joint sports medicine program
was in place and UMB physicians were located on site at UMCP.
The request as presented was denied in August 2017 and is referenced as Appendix K.
While the model did not transition to UMB, it should be noted the supervision of athletic trainers continues to be a blended model as the athletic trainers are housed in the athletic department but their medical supervision is provided by physicians.
Contact: Mike Lurie