by Irvin Muchnick
The emergency response team who rushed Braeden Bradforth to St. Catherine Hospital, when the football player was found in distress on the Garden City Community College campus following the first practice of the season, told emergency room doctors that he was “in water.”
This somewhat cryptic phrase is the key reveal of 43 pages of hospital records obtained yesterday by Concussion Inc. The information comes while the college says it is undertaking a review of last week’s autopsy report on Bradforth’s August 1 death, which found that the cause of death was exertional heat stroke (EHS) — not a “blood clot,” as was claimed and pushed by then head football coach Jeff Sims during the initial and fleeting interest of the news media.
The history section of the hospital records notes that Bradforth was in respiratory arrest and had been termed “minimally responsive” by Emergency Medical Services. The report says, “On the way back from practice he had a period of 20 minutes or so when he was unseen, and then found obtunded [with impaired consciousness] sitting and leaning against a wall. The trainer performed sternal rub …”
Triage notes go on to include this potentially critical passage:
“Was found in some water at the college, unresponsive.”
Immersing a victim in water is a standard first aid measure for heat stroke.
It is important to bear in mind that emergency medical records focus on symptoms and treatments, not causes. In the heat of the moment, St. Catherine’s real-time Bradforth records are silent on the possibilities of EHS as well as blood clot.
In an email to this reporter a week ago today, hours before his Garden City CC Broncbusters lost to East Mississippi in the national junior college championship game — after which Sims became the new head football coach at Missouri Southern State University — Sims didn’t return specifically to his theme that Bradforth had died from a blood clot. But the coach did reiterate his insistence that his player’s passing was “God’s timing.” Sims said he had “been assured” that the Bradforth death “was something that was out of our control.” Sims made these remarks a day after publication of the pathologist’s finding of EHS as the cause of death.
Sims also invited me to contact him for an interview “anytime after Dec 5th,” but has not responded to my email attempting to schedule the interview.
Bradforth is college football conditioning’s most recent fatality and the 36th documented since 2000.
Missouri Southern State, which faces questions of how the Bradforth death incident factored into the vetting and hiring process for its football coach, has stopped responding at all to Concussion Inc.’s queries. These include emails to not only athletic department officials, but also the university president, Alan D. Marble, and several members of the Board of Governors.
Yesterday began a spate of Kansas television and newspaper coverage of the EHS cause of death finding. In response, Garden City CC announced its administrators’ “ongoing review” of the autopsy.
Still missing is anything from an influential news outlet in Missouri regarding the prize football coach catch for that state’s public university system. Joplin Globe, Kansas City Star, St. Louis Post-Dispatch — I’m lookin’ at you.
DEATH OF BRAEDEN BRADFORTH — CHRONOLOGICAL HEADLINE LINKS