Jersey Shore Congressman wants external investigation into Neptune graduates death
Jersey Shore Congressman Chris Smith (R - Monmouth, Ocean and Mercer Counties) doesn't like what he found out following an internal review by the college in Kansas where Braeden Bradforth of Neptune died last summer from a heat stroke after football practice.
Congressman Smith said the summary done by Garden City Community College lacks answers to key questions about how and why he died and that it raises more questions than it answers.
Smith along with the other New Jersey delegates came on board this week pushing for an external investigation into Bradforth's death.
Bradforth, a 19 year-old from Neptune who played in the Shore Sports Network All-Shore Gridiron Classic last summer received a scholarship in July of 2018 to play football at GCCC.
On August 1, 2018, his second day on campus, he collapsed after evening football practice and was found unresponsive.
After being taken to the hospital in an ambulance, he passed away just hours later due to “exertional heat stroke,” his autopsy later revealed.
GCCC Head coach Jeff Sims told the Garden City Telegram that the defensive linesman was found "medically distressed" in his dorm room after a team meeting.
After calling for a team trainer to help Bradforth, an ambulance took him to a hospital where he died about 11:30 p.m.
Coach Sims told the Witchita Eagle that an emergency room physician told him that Bradforth was probably unaware of an existing medical condition that had caused a blood clot that reached his heart.
The college later conducted an internal review of Braeden’s death, but the family never received the results of the review and to date, there has been no independent investigation into Bradforth’s death.
Here is the full statement from Jersey Shore Congressman Chris Smith on the GCCC summary this week:
"The summary of the grossly inadequate and incomplete internal review lacks answers to key questions about the events of August 1 that, nine months later, still need to be answered.
The family deserves the basic facts of Braeden’s death. 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.
Where are the notes of the interviews with players, coaches, and training staff? Where are the witness statements? Are we supposed to accept that there is no relevant surveillance video footage from GCCC on August 1st anywhere?
Can the tragic death of a 19-year old be explained by a summary in a few paragraphs? No.
Now, more than ever, we need a thorough, external, independent investigation into Braeden’s death, as well as a review of the school’s policies and protocols for student-athlete health and safety 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.
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.
Was Braeden exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke—such as disorientation? If so, was he immediately tended to by the trainers and given cold water immersion, which is one of the best practices for treating heat stroke?
An independent investigation would help ensure full transparency and resolve inconsistencies in the summary, such as Coach Young saying that Braeden told him he was “good” when leaving the practice field and shaking his head when asked if he was quitting—when the coroner’s report noted that, after practice, Braeden walked off the practice field and refused to answer an athletic trainer.
What is the “summary” hiding? Why is the college afraid of an external investigation that can shed light on this case and likely protect others in the future? What is a student’s life worth at GCCC? The summary is a sham."
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