Why Did the Kansas Forensic Pathologist Specifically Go to the Trouble of Pointing Out ‘No Blood Clot’ in Death of Garden City Community College Football Player Braeden Bradforth?

Garden City Community College Confirms It is Investigating Braeden Bradforth Death — But Missouri Southern State University, New Employer of Coach Jeff Sims, Remains Mum
December 2, 2018
Garden City Community College ‘Recognizes Importance’ of Exertional Heat Stroke Finding in Braeden Bradforth Football Conditioning Death
December 5, 2018
Garden City Community College Confirms It is Investigating Braeden Bradforth Death — But Missouri Southern State University, New Employer of Coach Jeff Sims, Remains Mum
December 2, 2018
Garden City Community College ‘Recognizes Importance’ of Exertional Heat Stroke Finding in Braeden Bradforth Football Conditioning Death
December 5, 2018

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:

  1. ECAST (Exertional Collapse Associated With Sickle Cell Trait — which is what killed Agu). Though it is not known whether Bradforth was ever tested for carrying the trait, the autopsy says, “No sickle cells were seen.”
  2. Cardiac. From various clinical angles, Vachal concludes that this was not a heart episode.
  3. Asthma. Eichner: “He had a history of asthma. It was mild. He was ‘fine’ when he talked to his mom on the phone 60-90 minutes before he took the field for that fateful evening conditioning session in the heat/humidity and at a jump in altitude for him. And Dr. Vachal says: ‘The characteristic features of an acute asthma attack were not seen.’ In other words, it was not an asthma death. Nor was his hospital course consistent with asthma.”
  4. EHS. Of course, that is the ultimate finding.

The first five uncommon causes considered and rejected in the report are:

  1. Unobserved trauma.
  2. Cerebral aneurysm.
  3. “Obtundation” or loss of alertness, and then vomiting, aspiration, and respiratory arrest, from low blood glucose levels or drugs in his system.
  4. Gastrointestinal hemorrhage.
  5. Dilutional hyponatremia (water intoxication).

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.




College Football Just Had Its 33rd Conditioning Drill Death Since 2000 – Braeden Bradforth, Garden City (Kansas) Community College

Published August 3rd, 2018


Be VERY Skeptical of the Early Spin That Kansas College Player Braeden Bradforth’s Conditioning Death Last Week Was Not Football-Related

Published August 9th, 2018


More Than Three Months Later, Still No Autopsy Report in the Most Recent Football Conditioning Death: Braeden Bradforth, Garden City Community College in Kansas

Published November 14th, 2018


Is Jeff Sims of Junior College Championship Game’s Garden City (Kansas) – Now Headed to Missouri Southern State – the Latest Coach to Kill a Player in Football Conditioning Amidst a Community Cover-Up?

Published November 28th, 2018


Did Missouri Southern State University Ask Its New Football Coach Jeff Sims Anything About the Death on His Watch This Summer of Braeden Bradforth at Garden City (Kansas) Community College?

Published November 29th, 2018

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick