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College Agrees to $14 Million Settlement In Student Athlete Death

Posted by Dev Sethi | Mar 21, 2023 | 0 Comments

A Kentucky university has agreed to a settlement of more than $14 million over the death of a student wrestler hours after practice. 

The settlement of junior Grant Brace's wrongful death case comes after the 20 year old junior died on August 31, 2020 from heat stroke after he begged for water and was refused. The lawsuit describes the circumstances of his death as "tragic and entirely avoidable."

The settlement includes not just monetary payment but also a commitment from the University of Cumberlands to participate in heat-illness training and to help raise awareness of heat-related injuries. 

Brace was diagnosed with narcolepsy and ADHD and was prescribed Adderall which requires maintaining hydration, according to the lawsuit.

He died during the wrestling team's first training day of the season. After practice, the team had to sprint multiple times up and down a steep hill and Brace completed several before sitting down from exhaustion. The then-coach threatened to kick Brace off the wrestling team, so he ran up the hill again and was later heard saying "I'm done. I can't do this anymore," the lawsuit said.

He begged for water and his condition continued to deteriorate, but the coaches didn't provide water or contact the trainer or emergency medical personnel, according to the lawsuit. Brace left and tried to drink from an outdoor water fountain that was not working.

Surveillance video shared by the family's attorney with ABC News shows Brace struggling to open a locked door of the wrestling building. About an hour after that, he was found collapsed about 300 yards away, not far from a non-working water fountain.

About 45 minutes later, the coaches found him dead with his hands clenched in the grass and dirt, according to the suit.

"He was on all fours, and he had dug his hands in the dirt, and he had fistfuls of dirt," his father said. "It's too late."

Playing a role in the incident were a series of voice memos left on Brace's phone, documenting other alleged mistreatment from the wrestling department beginning from a previous season.

He can be heard saying, "Grant's daily blog for mom and dad, in case something bad were to happen to me."

"You started to see a picture of this wasn't just one incident gone wrong," family attorney Jamie Moncus said. "This was a pattern."

The university said in a statement that it believed it could defend the claims asserted in the lawsuit, but the legal process would have been long and costly.

About the Author

Dev Sethi

Dev Sethi litigates and tries a wide-range of complex injury and death cases throughout Arizona. He has Martindale Hubbell's highest rating, AV, and he is listed in "Best Lawyers." Dev is also recognized as an Arizona Super Lawyer in the area of plaintiff's products liability litigation.Dev has been at the forefront of auto product defect litigation. He played a key role in uncovering the Goodyear Load Range E tire scandal and worked to hold Ford Motor Company responsible for the danger posed by their now notorious 15-passenger vans. Dev is currently representing families in product liability suits against the nation's largest corporations including General Motors, Ford, Pentair Pools and Invacare.


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