Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) recently introduced a bill named in honor Braeden Bradforth, a college football player from Smith’s district who died last July from “exertional heat stroke” after a football practice.
The legislation, “Braeden’s Commission—Protect our Athletes from Exertional Heat Stroke,” HR 4145, would establish a commission to conduct a study on exertional heat stroke among student athletes at educational institutions across the country to study best practices for prevention, recognition and treatment of exertional heat stroke, and develop recommendations for the purpose of reducing fatalities from exertional heat stroke among student athletes.
“Death from exertional heat stroke is preventable,” Smith said. “When any athlete suffers from it, well-researched protocols exist that require prompt ac- tion to mitigate its impact, including death.”
“Braeden had the highest hopes of advancing his football career at Garden City Community College and ultimately, playing in the NFL,” said Smith in Braeden’s home town in Neptune, NJ, noting that exertional heat stroke ended that dream. “For months Braeden’s mom—Joanne—was left to speculate as to how and why her beloved son lost his life. Bryce lost his brother, Sean lost a son, and Robert lost his step-son. What was done and when—or not— during this crisis remains unknown to this day.”
Bradforth, a 19-year-old from Neptune, NJ, received a scholarship in July of 2018 to play football at GCCC. On August 1, 2018, his second day on campus, he collapsed after evening football practice and was found unresponsive. After being taken to the hospital in an ambulance, he passed away just hours later due to “exertional heat stroke,” his autopsy later revealed.
In March Smith called for an independent investigation into Bradforth’s death, and met with Braeden’s mother Joanne Atkins-Ingram and promised to do everything he could to assist her in her efforts to find out more about her son’s death, and what actions could be taken to prevent such tragedies in the future.