WICHITA, Kan. – Attorneys for the parents of a 19-year-old football player who died of heatstroke on the first day of practice at a Kansas community college said Thursday that negotiations with the school remain on track, downplaying the significance of a decision by trustees to deny claims totaling $50 million.
Braeden Bradforth, a 315-pound defensive lineman for Garden City Community College, was found unconscious in an alley outside his dormitory after practice on Aug. 1, 2018. The Newton, New Jersey, teenager died that night at a hospital.
His father, Sean Bradforth of Sumter, South Carolina, is seeking $40 million in compensation from the college. His mother, Joanne Atkins-Ingram, is separately seeking $10 million. Neither party has filed a lawsuit yet.
The college's board of trustees on Tuesday voted unanimously to deny those claims.
Board chairman Blake Wasinger said in a news release that the trustees' decision allows Bradforth's parents and their respective legal counsel to "more effectively and efficiently move into the mediation process." The college said it continues to cooperate with Bradforth's relatives and their legal representatives.
"I think all the parties are pretty interested in seeing if it can get settled," said attorney Chris Dove, who represents the player's mother. He said he expects more negotiations , but that he is optimistic a resolution will be reached.
Randy Aliment, an attorney for the college, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
"I think both parties are negotiating in good faith and we are going back and forth," said Shawn Foster, the attorney representing the player's father. "If we can't get the case resolved by the end of the year, beginning of the year we are looking at filing suit."
A serious lack of oversight set off a series of events that led to Bradforth's death, according to the 44-page report by investigators, including sports medicine specialists Walters, Inc. The report that was released in November said there was a "striking lack of leadership" by the college's administration and athletic staff in the months leading up to Bradforth's death.
The scathing report found a serious lack of oversight set off a series of events that led to Bradforth's death .
"The cause of death was a poorly designed and administered conditioning test for an unconditioned, non-acclimatized student athlete at an altitude with 9% less oxygen than he was accustomed to at his home" in Neptune, New Jersey, the report said.