Maryland Athletics announced today the formation of an Athletic Medicine Review Board (AMRB), which will allow independent review of student-athlete health and welfare policies and best practices. The board will be led by national sports medicine expert Rod Walters and comprised of experts from across the athletic, medical and legal professions.
“Our mission is to ensure that every single student-athlete at the University of Maryland receives the best possible care,” said Athletic Director Damon Evans.“I am grateful that this distinguished group will bring their expertise to reviewing our practices across the full spectrum of student-athlete care and well-being as part of our commitment to ensuring that best practices and policies are adhered to every day on our campus.”
“I appreciate the University of Maryland’s full embrace of the recommendations made last fall, and look forward to continuing to work with them in support of the well-being of their student-athletes,” said Walters. “This board will bring some of the most insightful professionals from across the country to College Park to further work with current staff specific to best practices and current standards.”
The board will consist of the following members: athletic trainers Ron Courson, University of Georgia, Cynthia “Sam” Booth, and Mark Laursen, Boston University; retired orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Robert Peele; strength coach Scott Bennett, Radford University; nutritionist Jennifer Brunelli, Carolina Panthers & Roush Fenway Racing; team physician Dr. Matt Leiszler, Notre Dame; operations management expert Sean Barnes, University of Maryland; and Trooper/Flight Paramedic Ed Strapp, Maryland State Police.
Their expertise spans the field including athletics, athletic training, physicians, injury prevention and sports performance, legal, and medical ethics. Members of the board will serve for a three-year term and meet annually.
The formation of the AMRB fulfills a recommendation outlined in the external safety review led by Walters that was completed last fall following the death of student-athlete Jordan McNair. With today’s announcement, Maryland Athletics has completed 19 of the 20 recommendations from the Walters Report, with work underway on the final recommendation.
Walters is CEO of Walters Inc. and has worked in athletic training for nearly 40 years. He served as the University of South Carolina’s Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine before launching his own firm in 2007. A member of the National Athletic Trainers Association, Dr. Walters served on their Board of Directors from 1997 to 2003. He received the NATA's Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer in 2003 and was inducted into the NATA's Hall of Fame in 2005. He is also a member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
Barnes is an Assistant Professor of Operations Management in the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and his research interests include infectious disease modeling, healthcare analytics, agent-based modeling and simulation, machine learning, and data visualization.
Bennett has over 25 years of experience in the strength and conditioning field, currently serving as Radford University’s head strength and conditioning coach, after spending time at Virginia Tech, James Madison, University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Wyoming and Marshall University. Bennett is accredited as a Master Strength and Conditioning Coach with the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCCa) since 2006 and has served time on the CSCCa Board of Directors. He was the first strength coach to be invited as an ex officio member of the NCAA Committee for Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.
Booth was a certified athletic trainer for 36 years before retiring her credential in 2017, holding positions at the University of Kansas, West Virginia University and Minnesota State University – Moorhead. She worked as a healthcare administrator for twelve years and has thirty-five years of university teaching experience. She retired in January 2018 only to re-enter the workforce as an Interim Academic Advisor at The College at Brockport in New York, but will return to retirement status at the end of this academic year. She has been a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association for over 40 years; inducted into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2006; and awarded the "Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer" Award in 2002.
Brunelli is a 7-time All American swimmer and Hall of Fame athlete who is the owner of RDpro, LLC, a nutrition consulting business in North Carolina and is in her seventh year with the Carolina Panthers as the sports dietitian working directly with the players as well as serving as the sports dietitian for the NASCAR team, Roush Fenway Racing. Brunelli also serves as the sports nutritionist for LEAD, a female Olympian run business that stands to help young female athletes gain leadership skills and confidence in and out of their sport.
Courson has served as Director of Sports Medicine with the University of Georgia Athletic Association since 1995 and before that working at the University of Alabama, Samford University and with the U.S. Olympic Team. Courson has also spent time as the president of the SEC Sports Medicine Committee, chairman of the College and University Athletic Trainers' Committee of the National Athletic Trainers' Association and as a member of the NCAA Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports committee. He was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2013.
Laursen is currently the Director of Athletic Training Services at Boston University, having spent the past 11 years in this role, while also teaching as a Clinical Associate Professor of Athletic Training in BU's Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Laursen has contributed to several publications, made more than 100 presentations, and currently is a reviewer for the Journal of Athletic Training, and Athletic Training Education Journal. In 2007, he was named NCAA Division IAA National Head Athletic Trainer of the Year.
Leiszler is the head football team physician at the University of Notre Dame. Leiszler graduated from Harvard University in 2003 with a degree in biology. He was a varsity letter-winning running back on the football team while at Harvard. He finished medical school at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 2008.He completed both a residency in Family Medicine and a fellowship in Sports Medicine at the University of Colorado, and was faculty at the University of Colorado Hospital prior to Notre Dame.
Peele served as theTeam Orthopedist and Chief Physician for the University of South Carolina Athletic Department from 1983 to 2001. He attended medical school at Wake Forest University’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine; completed his residency in orthopaedics at the Medical University of South Carolina; and and completed his sports medicine fellowship under the legendary Dr. Jack Hughston.
Strapp is currently a Trooper/Flight Paramedic for the Maryland State Police and has served in various roles as an athletic trainer and paramedic for more than 20 years. He is also a certified athletic trainer and flight paramedic who regularly presents on the emergency care aspect of athletic training at local, regional and national conferences.