Some tragic news coming from Kentucky. A college wrestler passed away from heatstroke after his coaches decided to not allow him to get water during the practice due to poor performance.
“Guys, I need water. Get me some water,” Grant Brace, 20, urged his team during the first day of wrestling conditioning at the University of the Cumberlands on Aug. 31, 2020, WKRC-TV reported Thursday.
Brace was increasingly desperate and with subsequent refusals began speaking gibberish and twitching and said he couldn’t see, witnesses told local police.
Two hours after the practice was over, Brace was found on the ground clutching the grass. The coroner’s report indicates he died of exertional heatstroke – which is entirely preventable.
The Williamsburg Police Department reportedly interviewed more than 40 members of the wrestling team to verify what had happened.
When the team moved their afternoon workout outside from the gym at 3 p.m., coaches told the athletes to “throw their water bottles on the fence and not touch them,” police reportedly found.
The team was running a series of sprints up a hill, 200 foot slope at a 35% incline. The drills were punishment for a teammate that failed to meet his fundraising goals.
Brace couldn’t keep up and was instead told to leave and clean out his locker by the coaches.
He went to the locker room but instead of leaving returned and wanted to stay on the team.
“Some witnesses describe a lot of verbal abuse by the coaches and even teammates as Grant continued to attempt sprints up the hill,” Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird reportedly said.
“Witnesses describe a short team meeting on the hill after the sprints when Grant was holding on to a small tree limb, swaying back and forth, saying, ‘I can’t stand.’”
When a teammate began to wrap ice in a towel to cool Brace off, a coach intervened, citing Brace’s poor sprinting performance, the report said.
“At one point witnesses state Grant opened a cooler full of ice that was provided by the trainer and began to immerse himself in the ice and began splashing ice on his body,” Bird told the outlet.
Brace — who suffered from narcolepsy, was prescribed Adderall and was supposed to be granted “unlimited access to water”.
He ran to a nearby building, failed to open the door and was found two hours later on all fours next to vomit.
“Heatstroke is where your core temperature elevates above 104 degrees,” national heat expert Bud Cooper told the outlet.
“Usually with heatstroke, individuals have lost consciousness. And again you can pick them out. You will start to see them. They will lose their ability to continue an activity. They’ll be lethargic. They’ll have an inability to communicate.”
Brace’s family reportedly filed a police report and wrongful death lawsuit against the school, claiming coaches failed to protect Brace’s health and safety.