By Ryan Gaydos
Published March 19, 2019
Video surveillance footage from the night a Kansas college football player died of heat stroke during his team’s first practice of the season last year was erased, an attorney for the school said last week.
Randall Grisell, who represents Garden City Community College and the town of Garden City, told Braeden Bradforth’s mother that video of the night of her son’s death was “overwritten” and didn’t exist any longer, the Asbury Park Press reported Friday.
“Video footage from the college’s video surveillance system is only maintained for 14 days for exterior cameras and 30 days for interior cameras,” Grisell wrote in a letter, according to the newspaper. “Old footage is automatically replaced [overwritten] by new footage. By the time your Aug. 31, 2018, request was received by the college, any existing footage was already overwritten. I have been told by the college’s IT director that there is no way to retrieve overwritten video footage.”
Joanne Atkins-Ingram, Bradforth’s mother, had hoped that the surveillance footage would have answered some of the questions surrounding her son’s death. Jill Elaine Greene, a New Jersey attorney representing Atkins-Ingram, accused the school of stonewalling.
“Braeden dies on Aug. 1. It’s March and now you’re only just telling me that it was overwritten?” Greene said. “It seems very convenient. It makes it seem even more suspect. Why didn’t you tell me that from the beginning? What the hell are they hiding? This was very disappointing, very disturbing.”
Greene had requested on Aug. 31, 2018, that the school and the county sheriff’s office turn over any information relating to the case, including the surveillance footage, the Asbury Park Press reported.
Grisell responded in his letter that by the time the college received the letter all “footage had been automatically overwritten by the surveillance system.”
Bradforth, a Neptune, N.J., native, was set to play defensive tackle for the school and on the first day of practice temperatures reached up to 87 degrees.
The incoming freshman was found medically distressed in his campus dorm room at around 9:30 p.m. after a team meeting, the Garden City Telegram reported. The teammate who found him contacted coach Jeff Sims, who then asked a trainer to help. The trainer called an ambulance shortly afterward, and Bradforth was pronounced dead at a hospital at around 11:30 p.m.
An autopsy later showed that Bradford died of exertional heat stroke, instead of a blood disorder, which was initially suspected. Sims no longer works at Garden City Community College.
“That’s that big question for all of us. What happened to this child from the time he left the practice and the time he was found?” Greene told the newspaper. “And really, the only thing that would have possibly given us the answer is that film. Somewhere there would have been tape of him, and now you have this big black hole that may never be answered.”