by Irvin Muchnick
A preliminary report by the Finney County (Kansas) coroner, recorded the day after a 19-year-old football player died from what would be determined to be exertional heat stroke (EHS), noted that Braeden Bradforth, instead of attending a team meeting after a conditioning drill, walked in the direction of his dorm room on the Garden City Community College campus and did not respond to a team athletic trainer who called after him.
This one-page August 2, 2018, document — the equivalent of a medical examiner’s office intake memorandum — has been acquired by Concussion Inc. and uploaded to http://muchnick.net/bradforthcoroner080218.pdf.
Unlike the ultimate forensic pathologist’s report, which was filed with a state court in November, this intake memo, signed by coroner Dr. Bradley Stucky, does not address the cause of death. What it does seem to show is shocking callousness and unprofessionalism on the part of the collective staff of Jeff Sims, the head football coach. Sims has moved on from Garden City CC and now holds the same position at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. The community college says it is undertaking an internal review of the circumstances of the EHS death as it braces for a likely lawsuit by the victim’s mother, Joanne Atkins-Ingram.
In addition to memorializing the team athletic trainer’s inaction in the prelude to the Bradforth death, the August coroner’s report makes no reference to the claim by Sims that an emergency room doctor said Bradforth had sustained a heart attack caused by a pulmonary embolism. Thus, there is further redundant non-evidence of the narrative the coach was successfully pushing to Sports Illustrated and other agenda-setting major media outlets in the immediate aftermath of what looks a lot more like a negligent homicide than a random “act of God.”
Turning to the text of the August report by coroner Stucky, we see the following key passage:
“Practice got over about 9:15 pm and they needed to go to a meeting. At that time the patient, instead of walking towards the meeting, started to walk towards his dorm room. He was refusing to answer the athletic trainer. The meeting got over about 09:30p.m. Around 09:45p.m. he was found lying just outside his dorm room lying with his head against the brick wall and was unconscious and unresponsive […]”
According to the paramedics who responded to a 911 call, they found that Bradforth had been doused with a water hose at the direction of the coaches. At 11:06 p.m., he was pronounced dead at St. Catherine Garden City Hospital. (Concussion Inc. earlier published the entire narrative from the Emergency Medical Services report and the known hospital records.)
I shared the coroner’s intake report with Dr. E. Randy Eichner, retired team physician at the University of Oklahoma and a leading critic of the spate of deaths in college football conditioning. Bradforth’s was the third in 2018 and at least the 36th since 2000.
Eichner’s reaction: “Why did they let him walk away, unattended? A young man who has just flown in from his home 1,500 miles away to play football for you does not refuse to answer questions and walk away from you — in the wrong direction! — on day 1 of football, right after an intense sprinting drill in the heat. This strange behavior is a hallmark of EHS. This all looks familiar to me: a similar chain of events occurred in the 2001 death of Eraste Autin at the University of Florida. Like Autin, Braeden Bradforth died of EHS because of reckless endangerment by coaches.”
Coach Sims, Garden City Community College, and Missouri Southern State University have not been responding to Concussion Inc.’s inquiries regarding this matter.
DEATH OF BRAEDEN BRADFORTH — CHRONOLOGICAL HEADLINE LINKS