This week saw a somber one-year anniversary in the High Plains.
On the evening of Aug. 1, 2018, Garden City Community College football player Braeden Bradforth died of heatstroke, according to an autopsy.
Sam Zeff, a reporter for public radio station KCUR in Kansas City, has followed Bradforth’s story since earlier this year.
Zeff’s latest story this week included comments from the then-head football coach at Garden City:
“It's like nobody [was] looking out for him,” said Joanne Atkins-Ingram, Bradforth's mother.
That includes former head coach Jeff Sims, who left after the 2018 season to take the head coaching job at Missouri Southern University in Joplin.
“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.
Via an email exchange this week, Zeff told me the attorney for Bradforth’s mother tipped him off to the ongoing story and the family’s search for answers into the death of the 19-year-old.
“It was emotional, of course, the death of a young man so far from home would be,” Zeff said. “But Braeden’s mom is such a kind woman and, by all accounts, a great mom. The fact that I’m the father of a young man myself also pulled me into the story.”
In the process, Zeff discovered a Kansas “junior college football that was turned on its head” by Sims and now-former Independence Community College football coach Jason Brown. Brown and his football team were featured in seasons 3 and 4 of the Netflix documentary series “Last Chance U.” The fourth episode of the current season features Sims and Brown trading barbs and cursing at each other. LOTS of cursing. Click here for a late update from Zeff Thursday night:
Counting The Disconnected Kansans
In case you missed it, Corinne Boyer, who covers western Kansas for High Plains Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, reports this week on a new map outlining the internet deserts across Kansas.
Approximately 3.5 percent of the Kansas population doesn’t have internet access, a figure lower than the national rate although that’s likely small comfort for the disconnected in the state.
Boyer quotes Brent Legg, vice president of government affairs with Connected Nation, as saying, “We found, through this mapping exercise, that there actually are pockets of areas where people do live — here in Dodge City and even in the suburbs of Kansas City — that don't have service, that need it.”
You can read Boyer’s report here.
Fun facts to know and share from this week’s news on High Plains Public Radio and HPPR Connect:
> “The hemp industry is like the Wild West and Wall Street had a baby.” — Chris Brunin, owner of Quiet Trees, CBD company
> “If you put something out where the public isn’t comfortable with it, it doesn’t matter what the science says.” — Stephen Moose, professor of maize, breeding and genetics at the University of Illinois
> “What we observed is that more children were being born with a congenital heart defect in areas with the highest intensity of oil and gas well activity.” — Dr. Lisa McKenzie, assistant research professor at the Colorado School of Public Health
HPPR.org is your go-to spot for the latest news from the High Plains region, as well as our events, exclusives, and features. You’ll also find the latest national and international news. Here are this week’s TOP STORIES from our website.
HPPR’s Living Room Concert series brings live music to the High Plains. Check out the schedule here.
PUBLIC RADIO is only as strong as our community. Please share this weekly update with your friends, family, neighbors, readers who noticed this story about bralettes and wondered if it had been a “Seinfeld” episode as well, fans of a man who was a famous NFL linebacker, sports agent, TV host and attorney, and supporters of high school musicals starting to wonder if the sun really will come out tomorrow.
Anyone can sign up for this newsletter here.
Keep up with HPPR by following us on social media.
Don't miss updates, photos, videos, events & news.