Congressman: Investigation of Player's Death 'Inadequate'

Jason Scott Headshot

Garden City (Kan.) Community College last week released a summary of the results of an internal review it conducted in the wake of the August 2018 death of football player Braeden Bradforth — but the results were met with displeasure from a U.S. congressman.

The Wichita Eagle reports that an autopsy revealed that Bradforth died from exertional heat stroke during a football practice just two days after he moved to Garden City, Kan. from New Jersey. A summary of the school’s review detailed the events leading up to Bradford’s death; including the temperature, safety precautions and activities the team was engaged in at the time.

Despite this, Rep. Chris Smith, who represents a district in Bradforth’s home state, called the internal investigation “woefully inadequate.”

“The summary of the grossly inadequate and incomplete internal review lacks answers to key questions about the events of August 1 that, nine months later, still need to be answered,” Smith said in a statement. “The family deserves the basic facts of Braeden’s death. This is a summary of what? A young man is dead, and we still don’t know how or why he died. The summary raises more questions than it answers.”

The summary notes that the temperature outside on the day of the incident was in the 80s, and that Bradforth was working on conditioning with defensive linemen. The position group were expected to complete 36 50-yard sprints, finishing each in 8 seconds, and receiving 30 seconds of rest between sprints.

Bradforth reportedly stumbled during one sprint, and eventually left the field in the direction of the dormitories. A coach asked if he was quitting, and Bradforth’s only reply was shaking his head. After a team meeting, an athlete found Bradforth passed out outside. Paramedics were eventually called and Bradforth was transported to a hospital, where he died.

Smith raised concerns about the lack of notes from interviews with witnesses and any surveillance footage from the day of Bradforth’s death.

“Was Braeden exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke — such as disorientation?” Smith said in the release. “If so, was he immediately tended to by the trainers and given cold water immersion, which is one of the best practices for treating heatstroke?”

Smith called for an external, independent investigation to be conducted into Bradforth’s death.

In the wake of the incident, the Eagle reports that GCCC will hire additional athletic training and strength and conditioning staff, and will provide CPR and first aid training for all coaches.

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