by Irvin Muchnick
All politics being local, the prospects for accountability in the negligent football conditioning death of Braeden Bradforth have ticked sharply upward with welcome, if overdue, media attention in the scandal’s dual backyards.
Today the Joplin Globe in southwestern Missouri weighs in for the first time on how Missouri Southern State University intends to explain its hire of new football coach Jeff Sims on the rebound from Garden City Community College, where he presided over the program that killed Bradforth from what the coroner found to be exertional heat stroke — not, as Sims misleadingly said from the outset, as a result of a blood clot and an act of God.
“I’ve been advised not to make any comments by both schools,” Sims tells the Globe’s Jared Porter over the headline “UPDATED: MSSU aware of death of Garden City football player.” See https://www.joplinglobe.com/news/updated-mssu-aware-of-death-of-garden-city-football-player/article_cea5c040-fa7d-11e8-9d33-1b358fcaf416.html.
The “UPDATED” refers to a quick-hit item late yesterday in which the Globe belatedly published MSSU’s bland and heartless statement that it considered the reckoning for the Bradforth death “a matter for Garden City Community College and the Bradforth family to resolve.” Unconscionably, the university also echoed Coach Sims’s first-day hearsay about a blood clot, purportedly from an unnamed “attending physician,” and ignored last week’s autopsy report emphatically rebutting that theory.
The Globe was likely catalyzed into action by Concussion Inc.’s calling out of reporter Porter and sports editor Jim Henry for dragging their feet (see yesterday’s story). But that is less important now than the fact that they are now in the game.
Meanwhile, over the headline “Physician: Bradforth death preventable,” J. Levi Burnfin of the Garden City Telegram offers the first real presentation of the Bradforth family’s side of the story, which in my view aligns with the public interest in the pandemic of deaths in football. See http://www.gctelegram.com/sports/20181207/physician-bradforth-death-preventable.
Sports medicine and football conditioning death expert Dr. Randy Eichner knows what he’s talking about when he says an exertional heat stroke fatality “should never occur in college football,” and repeats his earlier statement that the Bradforth scenario “raises serious questions about GCCC football, and maybe even raises the question of reckless endangerment, led by head coach Jeff Sims.”
Reporter Burnfin also interviews Jill Greene, the attorney for Bradforth’s mother, Joanne Atkins-Ingram, on the stonewalled current status of the investigation into the timeline of the events and other elements.
DEATH OF BRAEDEN BRADFORTH — CHRONOLOGICAL HEADLINE LINKS