Former Garden City Community College coach Jeff Sims’ explanation for Braeden Bradforth’s 2018 death includes a higher power.
Bradforth, 19, was set to play on the defensive line for Sims at Garden City in 2018. But he was found in his hotel room on Aug. 1, 2018 “medically distressed” by a teammate after the first day of practice. In December, the autopsy on Bradforth’s body revealed that he had died from exertional heatstroke.
Heatstroke that, according to Sims, was part of God’s plan. From KCUR:
“It’s unfortunate what happened, but God has a plan," Sims told KCUR during football media day for the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAA) in Kansas City. Similar to earlier comments, Sims insisted Bradforth's death was not his fault but instead an act of God. "We’ve had two investigations, and everybody knows what happened that day. It didn’t happen at football practice; it happened after football practice,” he said.
Garden City launched a review of Bradforth’s death after the autopsy results were published. Sims, meanwhile, took a bigger and better job. He was at MIAA media day on Wednesday because he’s now the coach at Division II Missouri Southern. Yes, he was hired at a four-year university not long after a player died of heatstroke under his watch.
Bradforth’s death was at least the third death of a college football player in the summer of 2018. Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair died in June after a conditioning workout and Darius Minor, a player at the University of Maine, died in July.
Bradforth reportedly ran 36 sprints
The first day of practice at Garden City last season included conditioning drills. An investigation by KCUR, the public radio station in Kansas City, determined that Bradforth had run 36 50-yard sprints. The station also said multiple players said Sims refused to let players drink water during the practice.
Bradforth’s mother said in May that her understanding was that water was available at practice but players who chose to drink it had to stop participating and come back and repeat practice the next day.
The autopsy noted that Bradforth had asthma and that temperatures were in the 80s with significant humidity.
“Considering the facts surrounding the case (decedent’s first intense workout of the year; ambient temperature in the 80s F with humidity; stomach containing food and vomiting; a hemorrhagic diathesis; tachycardia; tachypnea; possible complicating comorbidities of overweight, cardiac hypertrophy, and history of asthma), the cause of death is judged to be exertional heatstroke.”
The internal investigation surrounding the circumstances of Bradforth’s death at Garden City is complete, though an external investigation is currently underway. That investigation was launched in May after pressure from lawmakers from New Jersey, Bradforth’s home state. Sims has said he’ll cooperate with that investigation.
If you’re a viewer of the Netflix documentary series “Last Chance U,” you’ll recognize Sims. The fourth season of the show features a feud between him and former Independence Community College coach Jason Brown.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports
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