Congressman: Internal review into Garden City CC football player's death 'inadequate, incomplete'

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GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KWCH) -- Update Friday, May 3, 2019

A Congressman pushing for answers into a New Jersey native's death after Garden City Community College's first football practice in 2018, says a summary of the college's internal review is not sufficient to help the 19-year-old football player's family with closure.

New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith says the summary of the "grossly inadequate and incomplete internal review" lacks answers to key questions into how Braeden Bradforth died.

"The family deserves the basic facts of Braeden's death," Smith says. "This is a summary of what? A young man is dead and we still don't know how or why he died. The summary raises more questions than it answers."

In a written response, Smith takes issue with the college's summary not including notes of interview with players, coaches and training staff or witness statements.

"Are we supposed to accept that there is no relevant surveillance video footage from GCCC on August 1 anywhere," Smith asks. "Can the tragic death of a 19-year-old be explained by a summary in a few paragraphs? No."

Smith says "now more than ever there's a need for a thorough, external, independent investigation into Bradforth's death, "as well as a review of the college's policies and protocols for student-athlete health and emergency action plan, to determine an exact, detailed timeline of the evening of Braeden's death and to ensure that such a preventable tragedy will never happen again."

Smith also questions some of the findings in Garden City Community College's internal review, including details about access to water.

"Published media reports indicate that water may have been withheld from players. Saying there was water nearby doesn’t answer that claim. It only furthers the concern," Smith says.

Concluding his response, Smith questions what the college may be hiding with its summary.

"Why is the college afraid of an external investigation that can shed light on this case and likely protect others in the future?" he asks. "What is a student’s life worth at GCCC? The summary is a sham."

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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Garden City Community College Thursday released a summary of its findings from an internal review into the August 2018 death of a football player after last season's first day of practice.

According to the autopsy, New Jersey native Braeden Bradforth died of a heat stroke, hours after that first practice on Aug. 1, 2018. In its internal review, Garden City Community College says the football team began its practice at 7 p.m. and the temperature was 84 degrees, cooler than the average temperature for that time of evening in early August.

The college says players wore practice jerseys and pants and were not in full pads. Ten coaches attended the practice and the head athletic trainer reported having eight student helpers and three certified trainers on site.

"The trainers had large Gatorade containers on the sideline and each student helper had six water bottles in their carrier," the college says. "At the practice, Head Trainer (TJ) Horton reported that that there were 60 gallons of water, 10 ice towels, an ice chest with injury ice and bags, plastic wrap, 10 six-pack water bottles, an AED, a sideline kit with a rescue inhaler, splint bag and crutches at the site."

The college says the team was divided into two groups and while one group began drills, the other waited on the sideline or bleachers.