Before summer sports conditioning begins, Jordan McNair Foundation urges education on heat-related illnesses

Sports

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Parents, coaches and players: listen up.

This time of year, sports programs at schools begin their summer conditioning before the fall season starts. According to members of the Jordan McNair Foundation, it is imperative to listen to your body on the field or courts to avoid heat-related illness.

The Jordan McNair Foundation was established in June 2018 by Tonya Wilson and Martin ‘Marty’ McNair in memory of their son, Jordan, an offensive lineman for the University of Maryland who passed away from heatstroke while conditioning.

Jordan’s death inspired the family and those closest to him to help educate others on the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.

Jordan’s father, Marty McNair, looked into how many students had died from 2000 to 2018 and realized there was no source of advocacy for this kind of problem.

So, he got to work.

He spends time with the foundation to educate people because he “didn’t want any other parent to feel what we were feeling.”

“We usually lose kids during conditioning drills or conditioning seasons,” McNair said. “We don’t really lose a lot of people in games but we do lose a lot of kids in conditioning. This is the time of year that always happens. This is our peak season. A lot of times we lose student-athletes from heatstroke and cardiac arrest.”

On Saturday, McNair and other members of the foundation hosted an open dialogue with attendees at the Gold’s Gym on S Laburnum Avenue. The program was called, “When Conditioning Kills.”

“Those young people put them into an unrealistic amount of pressure when it comes to getting to the next level,” he said. “Always listen to your body. That is the most important thing. You have to listen to your body. When your body tells you to stop, stop.”

He said it is extremely important to look out for the warning signs of heatstroke in yourself and others.

“Cramps are a big indication. Dizziness, confusion, thirst and lack of sweating are also signs,” he said. “Education for everybody. It starts at home. Young people have to listen to their bodies, that is the main thing.”

Mike Craven, who works on the Advisory Board for the Jordan McNair Foundation, was inspired to research more on the illnesses after a local death in 1999.

“Now, we have to talk about the manner of conditioning,” he said. “What type of conditioning and what manner? The way it’s organized, is it exceeding individual limits?”

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