Family of NJ athlete settles with college over heatstroke death
GARDEN CITY, Kansas — The family of a 19-year-old football player from the Jersey Shore, who died of heatstroke after team conditioning drills has reached a settlement with the Kansas community college, two years later.
Details of the settlement reached between Garden City Community College and the family of Braeden Bradforth, a Neptune High School graduate, were not released. The college said in a news release late Friday that a court recently approved the settlement.
Bradforth, a 315-pound defensive lineman, died after being found unconscious in an alley outside his dormitory after the first day of football conditioning on Aug. 1, 2018.
An independent investigation strongly criticized the school, saying a serious lack of oversight caused a chain of events that led to Bradforth's death. Investigators noted that the coaching staff didn't consider if Bradforth was properly acclimated to working out in summer temperatures at a higher altitude than he was used to in New Jersey.
E-mails obtained by The Associated Press last year indicated that 25 minutes elapsed between when an assistant coach was called to Bradforth's side and paramedics arrived. The assistant coach called the head coach before summoning medical help.
The college hired the independent investigators, under pressure from Bradforth's family and New Jersey's congressional delegation.
College President Ryan Ruda said in a news release Friday the school has made several changes to its facilities, procedures and protocols in response to Bradforth's death and the investigation's findings.
"We continue to extend our deepest condolences to Braeden's family and friends — there is no comparison to the grief and sorrow they have experienced over the last two years," Ruda said. "It is the hope of college leaders, including myself, that the settlement will offer some respite to Braeden's loved ones who have suffered the most from his untimely passing."
The changes at the school include renovating and updating athletic training facilities, creating a sports medicine advisory team that meets monthly to discuss topics concerning the safety of athletes, and drafting plans to respond to medical and emergency needs.
Other improvements include the hiring of a third full-time athletic trainer and a new strength and conditioning coach, the start of player welfare checks and the modification of practice times because of heat. All coaching staff also are required to take annual first aid and CPR training.
Two attorneys for the family didn't immediately reply to messages left Saturday at their offices.
Back in January, Bradforth's mom, Joanne Atkins-Ingram, and attorney Jill Elaine Greene joined U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., on Capitol Hill for a series of meetings on the proposed Braeden's Commission.
The effort would bring together members of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and would prompt a study on exertional heat stroke among student athletes and best practices for prevention, recognition and treatment.
(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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