Congressman Chris Smith said that the independent report into the death of 19 year Braedon Bradforth was “utterly heartbreaking” as the report concluded the the tragedy was 100% preventable.
“The investigator found that ‘a striking lack of leadership’ by Garden City Community College officials ‘set off a series of events that ended with the death of Braeden Bradforth.’ I can only imagine how difficult this is for Braeden’s mom, Joanne, to read; yet it is exactly what she and I have long requested—a transparent and independent review of the facts so steps can be taken to prevent another death of a student athlete,” Smith said.
“In a very special way Joanne’s incredible love and devotion to Braeden inspired this report precisely so that no other parent has to suffer what she has… the loss of a child from something that could have been prevented. Its findings must now serve as the basis for new protocols and protections going forward,” Smith said.
Smith said the report did not hold back in identifying specific gaps in the college’s training and care programs for its athletes. He pointed to pages 38 and 39 which concluded:
- A cause of Braeden Bradforth’s death was a poorly designed and administered conditioning test for an unconditioned, non-acclimated student-athlete.
- A contributing cause of Braeden Bradforth’s death was the failure to have and implement an effective Emergency Action Plan.
- No pre-existing condition played a role in causing Braeden Bradforth’s death.
Bradforth, a standout football player at Neptune High School, died of heatstroke on his first day of drills at Garden City Community College in Kansas in August of 2018. The school initially stonewalled an investigation requested by the young man’s mother, Joanne Atkins-Ingram. Smith met Atkins-Ingram and her attorney, Jill Greene, in March and promised to do all he could to uncover the facts of Braeden’s death and the prevent such incidents from happening in the future.