The family of Grant Brace, 20, has filed a lawsuit against the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky, claiming that Brace died after being denied water during a drill.
The family of a student wrestler who collapsed and died from heat stroke during a practice in August 2020 has settled their claim against a university in Kentucky for $14 million.
Brace’s death on August 31, 2020, from heat stroke after pleading for water and being denied “was tragic and entirely avoidable,” according to news outlets citing the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, Brace was diagnosed with narcolepsy and ADHD and was prescribed Adderall, which requires maintaining hydration.
According to a complaint filed on behalf of Grant Brace’s family, the 20-year-old wrestler’s death occurred a few hours after he pleaded for water during practice at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky, located about 100 miles south of Lexington.
Kyle and Jacqueline Brace were relieved and very satisfied “relief and tremendous satisfaction” that the university had been held guilty in civil court.
“The amount of money paid sends a message about the level of wrongdoing, not only by the coaches but the university itself,” the lawyer, James Moncus, wrote in an email.
The school issued a statement saying it was confident in its ability to defend itself against the family’s claims in the case but preferred to avoid a “long, difficult, and costly” legal battle.
Mr. Brace was described as “a talented, well-liked young man entering his junior year with a bright future ahead of him” by Jerry Jackson, chancellor of the University of the Cumberlands.
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“Our University community continues to mourn his untimely loss,” Mr. Jackson said. “We sincerely hope that resolving this matter early in the legal process will offer the Brace family a measure of peace and healing.”
According to university records, Mr. Brace was originally from Louisville, Tennessee, and was pursuing a degree in business administration. In high school, he participated in several sports and was a member of the National Honor Society at Alcoa High School in Alcoa, Tennessee.
According to the lawsuit filed by his family, Mr. Brace’s doctors had given Adderall to treat his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy and had stressed the importance of keeping him well hydrated while taking the medication.
The suit claims that he was promised that the institution would make provisions for his medical condition and thirst.
The suit alleges that on August 31, 2020, the school’s wrestling team began to practice by running on a track, and then were ordered to sprint up and down “punishment hill” seven times.
According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature that day was 83 degrees at the London-Corbin Airport, which is located roughly 30 miles from the campus.
On March 19, 2023, The New York Times tweeted an official statement and confirmed it, “A Kentucky university has agreed to pay $14 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Grant Brace, a student wrestler who died of heat stroke after a practice in August 2020. The lawsuit said he had begged for water a few hours before his death.”
A Kentucky university has agreed to pay $14 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Grant Brace, a student wrestler who died of heat stroke after a practice in August 2020. The lawsuit said he had begged for water a few hours before his death. https://t.co/fZW1EhOuz2
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 18, 2023
Mr. Brace paused during the sprints because he was tired. According to the lawsuit, coach Jordan Countryman told the student he had been dismissed from the team and should go to the wrestling room.
Mr. Brace resumed his dash, only to stop and say he had out of gas. Mr. Countryman’s lawyers and did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday, and he is no longer a coach at the university. The suit claimed that after practice, Mr. Brace “aided on the wrestling mat begging for water” in the wrestling room.
According to the claim, when Mr. Brace’s mental health began to deteriorate as a result of heat stroke, the coaches screamed at students who sought to help him.
“He was found with his hands clasping into the grass and soil,” the suit said. According to the complaint, he was discovered with his hands buried in the dirt and grass.
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As part of the terms of the settlement, the institution will take part in heat-illness training with a physician and support the family’s efforts to educate the public about the dangers of exertional heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.
According to 2022 research by the University of North Carolina’s National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, symptoms of heat stroke include vomiting, confusion, fatigue, cramps, a flushed appearance, and shakiness.
According to the center’s research, the annual death toll from exertional heat stroke increased to 2.4 from 2017–2021, from 1.4 in the prior five-year period. According to the findings of the study, deaths caused by exertional heat stroke can be avoided with the help of safety measures, early detection, and emergency care.
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