‘Justice For Braeden Bradforth’ Campaigners Need to Follow Up on Congressman Chris Smith’s Pressure on Garden City Community College President Ryan Ruda — And Others

Court Rescinds Errant Order That Our California Public Records Act Petition Against University of California Was ‘Dropped’
April 18, 2019
BREAKING: Congressman Smith Cancels Friday Meeting With Garden City Community College President and Braeden Bradforth’s Mother, After GCCC Lawyer Reneges on Meeting’s Terms
April 23, 2019



Not So Fast: Garden City Community College President Has Yet to Establish Any Basis For Braeden Bradforth’s Mother to Meet With Him Published April 18th, 2019




by Irvin Muchnick


We’ve been talking about how a supposed upcoming meeting in Kansas between the president of Garden City Community College, Ryan Ruda, and Braeden Bradforth’s grieving mother, Joanne Atkins-Ingram, could prove to be the emptiest of gestures.

Right now two members of the U.S. Congress from New Jersey — Chris Smith of Atkins-Ingram’s Fourth District and Frank Pallone of the Sixth District — are on her side. On their face, Pallone is the one with more clout: he is chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and he has challenged the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to improve public information and prevention of the kind of completely avoidable exertional heat stroke deaths that last year struck down Jordan McNair at the University of Maryland, prior to Bradforth at Garden City CC. (They were the 35th and 36th documented fatalities this century in college football team conditioning sessions.)

I’ll have more to say soon about the limits of addressing the problem at the macro level of the CDC, which — like the National Institutes of Health — shamelessly receives subsidies from the National Football League and is in thrall to the mission of “fixing” the sport of football, to the detriment of its public health purpose. For example, the CDC is in bed with the NFL, and acknowledges that it takes money from the league, for a public education program called “Heads Up.” Football critics, including myself, say Heads Up is a lot of malarkey, since such “brain injury awareness” schemes start from the false premise that technical adjustments can significantly ameliorate the sport’s fundamental health menace. That menace can and should be stated bluntly: Speedy collisions, which are essential to every play of every game of this blood sport, cause cumulative brain damage, from Pop Warner leagues through the pros, and “Heads Up” bromides are meaningless in real time.

Back to Congressman Smith. I would be disappointed if Smith were aggressively pushing Atkins-Smith to meet with Garden City’s Ruda, because I fear that the end result could be a headline with no substance behind it — the kind that ultimately drains the energy of a public pressure campaign instead of fueling it. A photo of Ruda sitting next to Atkins-Ingram and whispering secret nothings to her is not what is needed now. What is needed is a commitment by the college to public release of its alleged internal review of exactly what happened on August 1, 2018, when then head football coach Jeff Sims — now at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin — drove the 19-year-old Bradforth to his grave. As the congressman has noted, we also need Garden City to establish an outside investigation of the incident by independent experts.

Fortunately, Smith recognized that it is not Garden City Community College alone that is responsible for an accounting of Bradforth’s death. The congressman also addressed versions of his Ruda letter to various educational and sports bodies with supervisory or oversight or sanctioning roles. At http://muchnick.net/congressmansmithletters.pdf, we have uploaded the complete 39-page package. Here is the full contact information for readers interested in active follow-up:


Garden City Community College

President Ryan Ruda

801 Campus Dr.

Garden City, KS 67846

email: [email protected]


Colin Lamb, athletic director: [email protected]

Blake Wasinger, chair of the Board of Trustees: [email protected]

Terri Worf, vice chair of the trustees: [email protected]

Steve Martinez, trustee: [email protected]

Leonard Hitz, trustee: [email protected]

Merilyn Douglass, trustee: [email protected]

Jeff Crist, clerk of the trustees: [email protected]


Mayor Dan Frankhauser of Garden City, Kansas

301 N. 8th St.

Garden City, KS 67846

email: [email protected]


City Commission of Garden City, Kansas

Troy Unruh, commissioner: [email protected]

Shannon L. Dick, commissioner: [email protected]

Roy Cessna, commissioner: [email protected]

Lindsay J. Burnes, commissioner: [email protected]


Kansas Governor Laura Kelly

300 SW 10th Ave., Suite 241S

Topeka, KS 66612


Kansas Board of Regents

Blake Flanders, president and CEO

1000 SW Jackson St., Suite 520

Topeka, KS 66612

email: [email protected]


At same postal and email addresses:

Dennis A. Mullen, chair

Shane Bangerter, vice chair


Kansas Association of Community Colleges

Executive Director Linda Fund

700 SW Jackson St., Suite 1000

Topeka, KS 66603

email: [email protected]


National Junior College Athletic Association

Executive Director Chris Parker

8801 JM Keynes Dr., Suite 450

Charlotte, NC 28262

email: [email protected]


Men’s Region 6 Director

Mike Saddler: [email protected]


Also, the group’s Football Coaches Association:

Joe Osovet: [email protected]

James Forchtner: [email protected]

Rion Rhoades: [email protected]

Scott Strohmeier: [email protected]


Also, the group’s Athletic Trainers, Safety & Health Council Committee:

Loreto Jackson: [email protected]

George Sanders: [email protected]

Donna Sledge: [email protected]

Kyle Roepnack: [email protected]

Kerri Reeves: [email protected]

Chris Murphy: [email protected]

Nate Kelley: [email protected]

Jeff Fluty: [email protected]

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick