Garden City Community College football player Braeden Bradforth died of heat stroke following the first practice of the season on Aug. 1, according to an autopsy report filed Nov. 28 in Finney County District Court.
The college released a statement on Wednesday when asked for comment on the autopsy findings.
“The institution recognizes the importance of the autopsy’s findings, and these findings provide (Braeden's) family with an understanding of the medical circumstances surrounding his passing,” the statement, sent from GCCC director of public relations Ashley Salazar, said.
Bradforth, 19, was found unresponsive following the football practice and was transported to St. Catherine Hospital at 10:36 p.m., about an hour after the end of practice that evening, the autopsy report stated. He was pronounced dead at 11:06 p.m.
A complete autopsy was ordered by Finney County Coroner Dr. Bradley Stucky.
The autopsy report lists the cause of death as "exertional heat stroke." The report notes that it was Bradforth's first intense workout of the season, with temperatures in the 80s and humidity that evening. The report also states that Bradforth's stomach contained food and he had vomited, and that he showed signs of hemorrhagic diathesis (an increased susceptibility to bleeding), tachycardia (abnormally fast heartbeat) and tachypnea (abnormally rapid breathing). The report also states that other conditions present may have complicated his condition, to include being overweight, cardiac hypertrophy (an abnormally large heart), and a history of asthma.
Bradforth was set to be a defensive lineman for the Busters, and the report stated he was 6-foot-4 and weighed 300 pounds.
Bradforth's mother, Joanne Atkins Ingram, told New Jersey media outlet NJ Advance Media that she plans to sue GCCC.
“I hold the whole school liable,” she told NJ Advance Media. “It’s bittersweet. I’m glad to know the truth, but it doesn’t bring him back.”
Former GCCC head football coach Jeff Sims, now the head coach at Missouri Southern State University, declined to comment on the autopsy's findings when reached Wednesday.
GCCC's statement also said the college has begun a review of the incident at the direction of Interim President Ryan Ruda, calling it one of the first actions he took in his role — Ruda was named interim president in September.
“The ongoing review is intended to ensure that the college can transparently inform the community, the media, and — most importantly — Braeden’s family of the accurate facts and circumstances surrounding Braeden’s death,” the statement read.
The college declined to comment further Wednesday about the scope of the review, or if the college was reviewing its practices regarding player safety.
Bradforth, a graduate of Neptune High School in Neptune, N.J., was an incoming freshman at GCCC and arrived on campus just two days prior to his death.
Contact J. Levi Burnfin at firstname.lastname@example.org.