by Irvin Muchnick
As we reported three days ago, Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey called off a meeting that had been tentatively scheduled for today in Kansas between Joanne Atkins-Ingram, mother of deceased Garden City Community College (GCCC) football player Braeden Bradforth, and Ryan Ruda, president of the college. This came about after GCCC’s lawyer, Randall Grisell, walked back a promise by Ruda to share information on the August 1, 2018, exertional heat stroke death of the 19-year-old Bradforth at the end of a punishing practice session in the heat directed by then head coach Jeff Sims, who has since moved on to Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.
Concussion Inc. has learned, via campus sources, that Garden City is now preparing for public release — or perhaps strategic leaks — a purported “summary” of an internal administrative review of the incident that was ordered by Ruda late last year.
A source read the contents of the summary to this reporter. It is a shameless tissue of spin, distortion, and lies. It gives not a single inch on GCCC’s patent culpability in the 100 percent avoidable death of this student-athlete by reckless endangerment; by the withholding of hydration in the brutal summer heat; and by the slow and casual response by Sims and his coaching and training staff to the dying Bradforth when he was found in a state of collapse and unresponsiveness near a dormitory.
One of the new facts emerging from the summary is that the review was conducted by the school’s athletic director, Colin Lamb. This obvious lack of independence underscores why Congressman Smith has called on Garden City to undertake the type of investigation by outside experts that the University of Maryland commissioned following the similar exertional heat stroke death of football player Jordan McNair earlier last year.
Here are just two key points of preemptive nonsense the college is preparing to put out in an attempt to make the now nationally notorious Braeden Bradforth death scandal go away. The whole PR-driven response is an affront to the young man’s memory, and to athletes and their families everywhere.
Garden City Community College claims that there were Gatorade bottles, water containers, and ice available at the fatal practice.
Maybe so, but their existence means nothing if these were there only for show and if the coaches’ message, internalized by the student-athletes, was that they would jeopardize their status on the team if they succumbed to “weakness” and availed themselves of hydration.
Multiple players have spoken on the record about how it was made clear to them that the coaches would be writing down the names of those who stopped to sip water; how those who partook of water would be forced to redo parts of their sprint drills; and how those who missed particular cut-off times would be subjected to discipline and redos. If anything, the new GCCC summary corroborates this by conceding that the coaches took notes that were being used to enforce redos the next day.
As for the ice … Every expert on exertional heat stroke says that a victim simply needs to be immersed in a tub of it. Immediately. This measure is a foolproof way of preventing death. But GCCC did not deploy it. That there was ice lying around amplifies, rather than diminishes, an indictment of Sims and staff for reckless endangerment.
The agents of Garden City Community College took their sweet time tending to the stricken Braeden.
The summary says the 9:15 p.m. team meeting broke up around 9:35. Minutes later an athlete reported that there was a football player outside, down and in deep distress. The head trainer, TJ Horton, was driving a few blocks away from the campus when he got a call from Sims and rushed back. Horton arrived at the scene at 9:53.
The call to 911 was not made until 10:00 — at least 20 minutes after Bradforth was found unresponsive, and seven minutes after the trainer got there.
Further, this self-serving summary leaves out a key and incriminating part of the intervening minutes, as would be documented by the Emergency Medical Services paramedics: they found Bradforth “in water,” having been doused, perhaps with a water hose or from a container of water. (See our report on December 10, 2018, https://concussioninc.net/?p=13463.)
This adds to the evidence belying the contention of Sims at the time — presented without support by the coach, yet swallowed by the mainstream media — that Bradforth had expired from a heart attack caused by a blood clot, in an “act of God.” The coroner’s findings four months later would establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was no blood clot and that the cause of death was the eminently avoidable exertional heat stroke.
My sources were not clear on when GCCC intends to make this summary public. Whenever it goes live, I say: don’t fall for it. I am working to acquire a facsimile copy of the document for publication at this site.
Next in Concussion Inc.’s Braeden Bradforth coverage: What’s right about Congressman Chris Smith’s full-throated support of mom Joanne Atkins-Ingram — and what’s tragically limited about Congressman Frank Pallone’s turn to calling for a general report by the Centers for Disease Control. Followed by: Why are Sports Illustrated and ESPN missing in action?
DEATH OF BRAEDEN BRADFORTH — CHRONOLOGICAL HEADLINE LINKS: https://concussioninc.net/?p=13441