An incoming Garden City Community College football player died of undetermined causes Wednesday night after completing the team's first day of practice.
A teammate found Braeden Bradforth, 19, medically distressed in his campus dorm room between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after a late team meeting, said Jeff Sims, GCCC head football coach. The teammate alerted a coach, who contacted Sims, who then asked a certified team trainer to help Bradforth. Shortly afterward, the trainer called an ambulance, Sims said.
Bradforth was transported to St. Catherine Hospital and was pronounced dead around 11:30 p.m., Sims said. He said the student's parents had been notified.
Sims said the hospital will perform an autopsy of Bradforth to determine a definitive cause of death. For now, Sims said an emergency room physician told him Bradforth suffered from an existing medical issue, possibly unbeknownst to the player and unrelated to athletics or the day's physical activity. The first day of practice for the Broncbusters took place Wednesday after 6 p.m. with players only going through conditioning drills.
Bradforth, an incoming freshman at GCCC, arrived on campus Monday, two days ahead ofthe first day of football practice, Sims said. He said Bradforth had been recruited earlier this month as a defensive lineman and the college had offered him a scholarship.
He was a recent graduate of Neptune High School in Neptune, N.J., Sims said.
Sims said Bradforth had had a "great mood" from day one, "bouncing around campus and excited about the opportunity" to play at GCCC. His family was supportive and enthusiastic about what was coming next for their son, Sims said.
"It's heartbreaking. You work at a college and you work as a coach to watch guys begin their future. Unfortunately, God has a different plan at times ... We never know when our time will come. He walked around with a smile on his face and we enjoyed the time that he was here," Sims said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled Bradforth's first name. It is Braeden.