This article was originally published in The UB Post on October 23, 2019.
Earlier this month, the Jordan McNair Youth Athletic Protection Act was passed unanimously by the Baltimore City Council. With support from Council President Brandon Scott, the legislation awaits the signature of Mayor Jack Young with hopes to reach the General Assembly in Annapolis.
This legislation, which honors the late University of Maryland sophomore Jordan McNair who passed away last year during an off-season practice, aims to ensure that youth sports organizations have all the resources necessary to prevent tragedies, like McNair’s, from happening again.
The changes range from additional training requirements for coaches and parents who use any Baltimore City Department of Parks and Recreation facilities to requiring that an automated external defibrillator (AED) be readily available at all facilities.
In a press release, Council President Brandon Scott said, “If a medical emergency happens during a youth-related sports event, our coaches should be equipped with the proper training and equipment to respond as quickly as possible. This bill sets that standard.”
While the University of Baltimore no longer competes in college division sports, they do still have several intramural and club sports teams. This legislation directly impacts these participants because of the additional training and resources that the leaders of these organizations will need to have access to in order to use any city owned facility.
“Keeping our student athletes safe with policy change and legislation implementation will support the Jordan McNair Foundation’s mission of awareness, education, and prevention of heat-related injuries,” said Marty McNair, father of Jordan McNair, in a press release. The bill was passed unanimously at the October 7 City Council Meeting.
Nine universities and 188 public schools along with a host of religious-based sports programs, private and charter schools, and local recreation leagues will be impacted. If similar legislation is passed on the state level and signed by Governor Larry Hogan (R), over 40 universities and thousands of other schools of all types would be impacted.
While costs may increase, proponents of this legislation believe that it is worth every cent in saving the lives of student athletes across Baltimore and Maryland.
Tony Sheaffer is a staff writer for the UB Post.