Following is the full text of a news release by Congressman Chris Smith, Republican of New Jersey. Complete chronological headline links to Concussion Inc.’s coverage of Braeden Bradforth’s death are at https://concussioninc.net/?p=13441.
United NJ House Delegation Pushes for Accountability over NJ Football Player Death
WASHINGTON, D.C.— All 12 House Members of the NJ Delegation are imploring the President of Garden City Community College (GCCC), Ryan Ruda, to authorize an external, independent investigation into the tragic death of 19 year-old GCCC football player Braeden Bradforth from Neptune, NJ.
In a letter to President Ruda, led by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), the NJ Members stated that “on behalf of Braeden’s surviving family members and friends from our State, the New Jersey delegation joins in the request for an external, independent investigation into this tragedy.”
“Our New Jersey community mourns Braeden’s untimely death and there are significant unanswered questions. An external, independent investigation offers the only way to assure transparency for investigating the past while looking ahead to prevent future tragedies,” the letter said.
Bradforth was a 19 year-old football player from Neptune HS who received a football scholarship toGCCC in Garden City, KS, in June of 2018. On his second day on campus, August 1, he was taken to the hospital after evening football practice and died shortly thereafter. An autopsy later determined his cause of death to be exertional heat stroke.
Braeden’s mother, Joanne Atkins-Ingram, has tried to obtain basic information from the college about her son’s death but the school has not provided it to her, nor have college officials met with her in person. The school claims it conducted an internal review of Braeden’s death, but has not shared the review with Braeden’s mother, rather providing her with only an insufficient summary of details.
“We want a meeting between President Ruda and Ms. Atkins-Ingram to take place, but for that to happen there must be complete transparency by the school where she can receive answers to all her questions about her son’s death,” Smith said. “It is astonishing to me that nearly nine months after Braeden’s death, Joanne has not been informed of what exactly happened to her son on the night of August 1.”
Rep. Smith met with Joanne-Atkins Ingram and subsequently wrote President Ruda on March 22, requesting an external independent investigation into Braeden’s death. Such an investigation should include a review of the school’s policies and protocols for athlete health and safety and its emergency action plan, and whether or not those policies were followed the night of Braeden’s death.
Smith also personally requested that President Ruda meet in person with Joanne and share the school’s entire internal review with her, in a phone call with the President. Although the college initially agreed to the meeting, a lawyer for the college later determined that the internal review would not be discussed at the meeting. The meeting was subsequently postponed.