by Irvin Muchnick
Yesterday Concussion Inc. pointed to a strong editorial in the Globe newspaper of Joplin, Missouri, calling on Garden City Community College in Kansas (GCCC) to release its internal review of the August 1, 2018, exertional heat stroke death of football player Braeden Bradforth; and on Missouri Southern State University — the current employer of head football coach Jeff Sims — to make a full accounting of his hire in the wake of the reckless fatality on his watch.
Major news organizations in at least three states now are devoting significant resources (including so far unavailing public information law document requests) to the Bradforth death scandal. From the very start, Concussion Inc. had highlighted the probability of manipulation in the first-day account of Sims, when he erroneously attributed the death to a blood clot, and we were the first to push for and explain the autopsy findings and the 911 call and hospital records establishing that the coach had been at best misleading and at worst lying.
The entry of better-circulated media voices has made Braeden Bradforth a story that won’t be going away soon. I expect national media to pick up on it before long. Indeed, we’re already at that point in a sense, with the full-throated involvement of Bradforth’s hometown newspaper in New Jersey, the Asbury Park Press of Gannett’s USA Today Network. And it is the advocacy of a New Jersey state senator, Vin Gopal — who unsuccessfully appealed to the Kansas attorney general, Derek Schmidt, to investigate GCCC’s actions — that spurred coverage by a Kansas City Star political columnist as well as the Joplin Globe editorial board.
Last Friday’s story in the Asbury newspaper, by reporter Stephen Edelson, has a tidbit that must not be overlooked. (See “NJ football player’s death: Kansas college withholds security video,” https://www.app.com/story/sports/2019/03/01/nj-football-players-death-kansas-college-withholds-security-video/3018499002/.) On August 31, 2018, Jill Greene, the attorney for Bradforth’s mother Joanne Atkins-Ingram, sent what is known in legal terms as a letter of “spoliation” — putting GCCC on notice of possible litigation and demanding the corresponding preservation of pertinent evidence. This issue has emerged anew with GCCC’s contention that campus surveillance video footage of matters related to the death either does not exist, or will not be released even if it does exist.
Attorney Greene’s August letter was simultaneously dispatched by postal mail and email to various GCCC officials, including coach Sims. And the record shows that Sims emailed back that very day: “Absolutely I will help in any way.” Subsequently, Sims has fallen silent — he says at the advice of counsel at both his old school and his new one.
Not even the excellent accounts of the Gannett chain have yet to capture the exact sequence of events relative to Bradforth’s absence from a team meeting on the fatal evening of the workout that killed him. More on this from here shortly.
DEATH OF BRAEDEN BRADFORTH — CHRONOLOGICAL HEADLINE LINKS