by Irvin Muchnick
As noted here, yesterday was the first anniversary of Braeden Bradforth’s death, from exertional heat stroke, on the first day of practice at Garden City Community College in Kansas.
The date was marked by a memorial event at the Pop Warner football field in Braeden’s hometown of Neptune, New Jersey. Locals described it as a moving ceremony spontaneously attended by as many as 200 community members. The United States congressman who has been championing the Bradforth case, Chris Smith of New Jersey’s 4th District, was there, as was the mayor of Neptune Township, Carol Rizzo.
The anniversary also renewed midwestern media heat on Jeff Sims, the Garden City CC head football coach who now has the same job at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri.
As part of the latest of his surgical reports on community college and coaches’ accountability in looming civil wrongful death litigation — also the focus of a reluctantly launched, and still pending, $100,000 Garden City investigation — Sam Zeff of Kansas Public Radio confronted the college’s president, Ryan Ruda, as well as Sims.
Ruda served up a word salad. Sims tripled down on his line that the Bradforth death was an “act of God” that occurred “after” practice. He had already doubled down on this nonsense last November, in an email to me on the day of Garden City’s loss in the national junior college championship game. The coroner’s autopsy, which had just been released, already belied the first-day lie to the media by Sims that the death was caused by a blood clot rather than by exertional heat stroke.
I urge everyone to read Zeff’s online report, at https://www.kmuw.org/post/year-after-football-player-died-kansas-college-his-coach-still-says-god-has-plan. The same link embeds Zeff’s four-and-a-half-minute audio report.
The Joplin Globe quoted parallel blatherings by Sims at Missouri Southern State football’s media day. See https://www.joplinglobe.com/news/local_news/jeff-sims-says-program-where-he-used-to-coach-did/article_62278388-a86b-5055-9352-f470b66e6d53.html.