Settlement following the death of US sports student Grant Brace begging for water
A Kentucky university has agreed to pay $14 million (£11 million) to the family of a wrestler who died of heat stroke after begging for water during practice.
Grant Brace, 20, died in August 2020 after sprinting up and down a steep hill several times. His lawyers said the trainers refused to give him water.
Two coaches named in the lawsuit are said to have created an “atmosphere of fear of intimidation” within the team.
The University of the Cumberlands said it hoped the deal would go through.
But it claimed it could have defeated a lawsuit had it gone to court.
“We sincerely hope that the resolution of this matter as the trial begins will offer some measure of peace and healing to the Brace family,” University Chancellor Jerry Jackson said in a statement.
The lawsuit said Brace, a Louisville native, became “deeply disoriented” after arduous training in an area of campus known as “Punishment Hill.”
Brace was diagnosed with ADHD and narcolepsy, forcing him to take medication that requires proper hydration, particularly during exercise.
Despite his medical needs, the lawsuit said, two trainers would mock him when he asked for a water break, saying, “Do you think you’re special and allowed to drink more water?”
On the day of his death, Brace did numerous sprints and then “sat down from exhaustion,” the lawsuit said.
After being told he was being kicked off the team, he reportedly completed an extra run to the top of the hill before stopping and saying, “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.”
“Grant, who was suffering from heat stroke, asked ‘I need water, someone help me,'” the lawsuit reads, adding that he told people he felt like he was dying and that he spoke gibberish .
Coaches yelled at him after the team returned indoors and he fled the wrestling room, the lawsuit said. He searched for a working water well, but collapsed and died before he could find one.
A spokesman for the university said the university believed it could have defeated the lawsuit, “but the legal process would have been long, difficult and costly and would have ended in years of trial with an uncertain outcome.”
“The university has made the decision to resolve the case now in a manner that it hopes will respect the tremendous loss of the Brace family.”
The university will also participate in a heat illness awareness program and help raise awareness of heat-related injuries, the spokesperson added.