The University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky will pay $14.1 million to the family of Grant Brace, a college wrestler who died following a ‘punishment practice’ in 2020.
Brace, 20, passed away due to a heat stroke after a ‘punishment practice’ held by the team’s coaches per a report from CNN. Coaches Jordan Countryman and Jake Sinkovics “ignored Grant’s deteriorating medical condition throughout practice,” per the lawsuit filed by Brace’s family. Countryman and Sinkovics also reportedly prevented Brace’s teammates from assisting him despite multiple pleas for help and eventually sent him out of the practice alone. He attempted to get water from a nearby fountain that was out of service. He also attempted to enter a building in a desperate attempt for help but was unable to gain entry and collapsed shortly after.
Roughly 45 minutes after being removed from the practice, Countryman and Sinkovics began looking for the college wrestler. Brace was found dead “with his hands clenched in the grass and dirt after a desperate and erratic search for assistance and water.” Per a report from Kentucky.com, the ‘punishment practice’ required wrestlers to sprint up and down ‘punishment hill’ for seven circuits. Brace completed multiple circuits before sitting down due to exhaustion. “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore,” Brace reportedly said before being excused.
University Will Honor College Wrestler Grant Brace with B.R.A.C.E. Protocol
The school opted to settle with the Brace family out of respect for their tragic and unnecessary loss despite a belief that they could adequately defend themselves against the claims.
“Grant was a talented, well-liked young man entering his junior year with a bright future ahead of him,” Chancellor Jerry Jackson said in a statement Wednesday. “Our University community continues to mourn his untimely loss. We sincerely hope that resolving this matter early in the legal process will offer the Brace family a measure of peace and healing.”
The settlement will also require the school to implement the B.R.A.C.E Protocol, a program that will educate “coaches and athletes about exertional heat strokes in order to prevent further heat-related deaths.”