Garden City Community College

In a stinging 48-page investigation, the death of a 19-year-old football player last year at Garden City Community College was blamed on "a striking lack of leadership" by top college officials, including former head coach Jeff Sims.

What began as the tragic death of a young football player at Garden City Community College in western Kansas is now a matter for the United States Congress.

The bill filed Friday in the U.S. House would create a commission to prevent "exertional heatstroke deaths among high school and collegiate athletes"— the cause of death for 19-year-old Braeden Bradforth.

One year ago a 19-year-old football player from New Jersey arrived in western Kansas to start his dream of playing in the pros. But after just one practice Braeden Bradforth was dead of exertional heatstroke, leaving his family devastated and Garden City Community College (GCCC) to explain how it happened.

“It's like nobody wasn't looking out for him,” said Joanne Atkins-Ingram, Bradforth's mother.

Kansas junior college football plays in the big time these days.

The Jayhawk Community College Conference made a key change to its player eligibility rules three years ago that drew blue-chip players in from out of state.

The level of play shot up almost overnight, transforming at least one team from a perennial doormat to a national contender.

Thirty college football players have died from heat-related illnesses since 2000. But it was the heat stroke death of 19-year-old football player Braeden Bradforth last year that has led Congress to look at the problem. Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson talks with KCUR reporter Sam Zeff (@samzeff).

Garden City Community College Trustees voted Tuesday to spend $100,000 on an independent investigation into the exertional heatstroke death of a football player last August.

The family and friends of 19-year-old Braeden Bradforth from Neptune, New Jersey, have been calling for an independent probe since the teen died after a conditioning practice.

Without fanfare, Kansas junior colleges have reinstated a cap on how many out-of-state scholarships they can offer in football.

Removing the cap was denounced by high school coaches and athletic directors around the state when the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) voted unanimously in 2015 to allow football and basketball programs to have as many out-of-state scholarship athletes as they wanted.

It has been eight months since 19-year-old Braeden Bradforth collapsed and died after a football workout at Garden City Community College (GCCC).

Since then, the college has said little about the teen's death from exertional heat stroke after a grueling practice.

But that wall of silence may be breaking. "Kansas, can you hear me now?" the family's lawyer Jill Greene asked during a town hall meeting Thursday night at Friendship Baptist Church in Asbury Park, New Jersey. "Maybe we have a bad connection. We need to fix that."

THE BRADFORTH FAMILY

A New Jersey congressman says Garden City Community College officials have agreed to meet about the death of 19-year-old Braeden Bradforth, who died of exertional heat stroke after a grueling work out last August. 

Republican Congressman Chris Smith says GCCC President Ryan Ruda has said he will meet with Bradforth’s mother, Joanne Atkins-Ingram.

Nikki Talley & Jason Sharp, celebrated road warriors & folkmasters hailing from North Carolina, return to the High Plains for TWO SHOWS (in Amarillo & Garden City) the first weekend in May. Nikki & Jason's live set is incredible. These two have it all: expertly crafted melodies and lyrics, cloud-crushing vocals and harmonies, and excellent guitar and banjo pickin'. PLEASE TELL EVERYONE, and come out to support LIVE MUSIC on the High Plains. 

SAM ZEFF / KCUR 89.3

The lawyer for the family of a New Jersey teen who died after football practice at Garden City Community College says the school continues its lack of transparency about his death. 

Nineteen-year-old Braeden Bradforth died of exertional heat stroke last August after a grueling conditioning practice where players were denied water. 

Garden City Community College, in partnership with HPPR and the Tumbleweed Festival, are proud to present MARTIN GILMORE at the first-ever HPPR Living Room Concert on the GCCC campus on Thursday, March 21 in the Beth Tedrow Student Center Portico on campus at Garden City Community College  at 7:30 pm. Suggested donation is $15. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Last August, a mother put her youngest son on a plane in New Jersey bound for Garden City Community College to play football in southwestern Kansas.

Josh Harbour

The president of Garden City Community College faces growing pressure to resign over a range of sexual harassment issues at the school and a threat to its accreditation.

This week, the college’s faculty senate demanded Herbert Swender step down — citing what it says was a too-slow reaction to accusations that a coach sexually harassed former cheerleaders and directed racist remarks at them. Local residents echoed those sentiments to the school’s board of trustees.

Meanwhile, the community college faces possible suspension of its accreditation.

Don't miss Rob Gerhardt's traveling photography exhibit, "Muslim American / American Muslim," on display now at Mercer Art Gallery  (801 N. Campus Dr.) at Garden City Community College. He will be hosting a talk this Thursday, Sept. 21st at 7:30 pm CST at the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Auditorium (801 N. Campus Dr.). 

Who knew so many of the good people of Garden City would venture out on a Sunday night for a live jazz concert? 

HPPR would like to thank our honored guests, The Bob Bowman Trio from Kansas City, for their phenomenal concert on  March 6th. It was broadcast live on air from our Garden City studio in front of a live audience.  

This show was made possible by: Hicks Thomas LLC - A Texas energy and trial law firm.

salina.com/Salina Journal

As Kansas' new concealed-carry law goes into effect on July 1, many cities, counties and educational institutions across the state are choosing to operate under exemptions from the law.