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Family Of UMD Player Who Died From Heatstroke Look For Answers

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — A college football player's family plans to go to court to get answers on what led to the teenager's death.

University of Maryland lineman Jordan McNair died after collapsing during a practice in late May. Now, with the investigation into what caused his collapse ongoing, his family has lawyered up.

There hasn't been an autopsy report, but Jordan McNair's family says heatstroke was his killer. And now, their lawyer says, the symptoms should have been recognized by coaches and staff before becoming deadly.

His family is planning to seek answers, and attorney Billy Murphy says justice in a soon to be legal battle.

"There's no excuse in the world for why a coach in a reputable, well funded program, does not know and react to the symptoms of heat stroke." Murphy said.

Though there's been no official autopsy report released, the McNair family has established a foundation, pointing to heatstroke as the killer of the 19-year-old offensive lineman.

But Murphy says the culture of college football factors in. He says with players are pushed to over-exert themselves on the field, or face rebuke from the top down.

"The names, in this situation, that are commonly used at practices are horrible names, they go to the very core of your masculinity," he said.

McNair reportedly had breathing problems and seizures following a May 29th practice. He died two weeks later.

Head Coach D.J. Durkin described the young athlete in a press conference, shortly after his death.

"Jordan was such a tremendous person," Durkin said. "As big as he was, stature wise, his heart was much bigger."

Now, while the university brings in consultants to review team protocols, Murphy's law firm has launched its own investigation. They are in the process of interviewing players, waiting on official reports and reviewing any liability waivers, that he said will not protect UMD against legal action.

"These are college kids. You can't use a contract as an excuse for over exerting somebody," Murphy said.

He has not filed a lawsuit on behalf of the McNair family yet.

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