by Irvin Muchnick
In a story no one in the timid mainstream media has picked up, except in Braeden Bradforth’s native New Jersey, Concussion Inc. has noted that last week’s autopsy of the 19-year-old football player at Garden City Community College, who fatally collapsed following the first day of practice on August 1, clearly established exertional heat stroke as the cause of death in college football’s most recent conditioning death. Bradforth’s was at least the 36th this century.
EHS, exertional heat stroke — not the mysterious “blood clot” asserted by coach Jeff Sims.
A closer analysis of the 11-page report by forensic pathologist Dr. Eva J. Vachal, viewable at http://muchnick.net/bradforthautopsy.pdf, further suggests that Vachal might have inserted the language emphatically rebutting the blood clot theory with the specific intention of course-correcting public discussion of the misleading first-day spin by Sims.
The false flag of a blood clot, whether innocuously or purposefully planted by the coach, and purportedly based on a snap opinion of an emergency room physician, is one of at least three open public interest questions as Garden City CC braces for a seemingly inevitable wrongful death lawsuit by Braeden’s mother, Joanne Atkins-Ingram. Two of the questions involve Garden City; the other surrounds the actions of Missouri Southern State University, where Sims has just been named head football coach after leading Garden City to two junior college championship games and one championship in the last three years.
The other Garden City question, besides the one of whether there was a cover-up of Bradforth’s EHS in light of the autopsy findings, is whether release of the Vachal report got systematically slow-walked by the community college and by Finney County. The report was not filed in Kansas district court until 117 days after the death, or one day before the Garden City Broncbusters lost last Thursday’s National Junior College Athletic Association title game to East Mississippi. And by then Sims already had one foot out the door, toward Joplin, Missouri.
The Missouri Southern State public interest question is one entirely outside the anticipated litigation against Garden City: Did that institution know about the Bradforth death and in any way probe the circumstances of it in the process of vetting and interviewing Sims, its new head football coach?
The Missouri Southern president, Alan D. Marble, and two members of the Board of Governors so far have not responded to our query on this matter — which means this may be a job for the state Sunshine Act. (In California, a judge has tentatively ruled in my favor in the effort to secure public release of 141 pages of Berkeley campus police reports that appear to confirm a cover-up in the 2014 football conditioning death of Cal player Ted Agu.)
As with other stories steeped in medical technicalities, I lean heavily in the following discussion on Dr. Randy Eichner, the retired football team physician at the University of Oklahoma and the country’s leading expert on football conditioning deaths. In a recent article in the journal Current Sports Medicine Reports, Eichner wrote, “Football conditioning is ‘out of control’ and killing our kids.”
Turning to the Bradforth autopsy, Eichner reiterates that it is one of the most meticulous reports of its kind he has ever read. Dr. Vachal has more than 40 years of experience in the field.
The report methodically runs through both the four most common causes of collapse/death in action, and six uncommon ones.
The four common ones are:
The first five uncommon causes considered and rejected in the report are:
Number 6 is “pulmonary embolism”: the blood clot theory. Vachal says three times in three ways that “there is no evidence” of PE. Eichner adds, “The setting is wrong (a victim is usually hobbling on crutches after leg injury or surgery), the features of his collapse are wrong, the clinical course is wrong.”
My own layman’s observation is that the six uncommon causes here are, to some extent, randomly chosen, and there is no obvious reason why Vachal would have included PE other than the fact that Jeff Sims had pushed his theory of it so early and so hard. Speaking intuitively and as an outsider, I think it is plausible that the pathologist might have debunked PE specifically so as to stop cold a Sims, or Sims-cum-community, cover-up. However, in fairness, careful pathologists like Vachal might often independently dispose of the PE factor, with or without a prompt.
I’ll try asking Vachal. Regardless, she has performed here a great service to activists fighting avoidable deaths in football conditioning and seeking to hold accountable the responsible coaches and school officials.
DEATH OF BRAEDEN BRADFORTH — COMPLETE HEADLINE LINKS
Published August 3rd, 2018
Published August 9th, 2018
Published November 14th, 2018