University settles $14.1 million lawsuit after student athlete died during 'punishment practice'

A settlement has been agreed upon after a University of the Cumberlands student wrestler tragically passed away after a so-called "punishment practice".

On August 31, 2020, a student named Grant Brace died at just 20 years old after taking part in a wrestling session at his university in Kentucky.

His sudden death was ruled as a result of a deadly heatstroke - with a video later emerging of the student desperately trying to find water just an hour before he collapsed and died.

Now, it has been reported that Brace's grieving family and the academic institution have reached a $14.1 million settlement, according to CNN.

In the lawsuit - which has been obtained by the publication - Brace passed away after a "punishment practice" during which university wrestling coaches "ignored Grant’s deteriorating medical condition throughout practice".

It was noted that the student was found dead "with his hands clinched in the grass and dirt after a desperate and erratic search for assistance and water".

It was also alleged that he repeatedly begged for water, but the staff at training wouldn’t allow anyone to help him and sent him out of the wrestling facility by himself.

Another member of the wrestling team named Alex Myers also backed this claim in a recent interview with Good Morning America.

"It was absolutely horrible. Nobody really had any water at all left in their water bottles and we were not allowed to go back into the [locker] room until the end of punishment," he said.

In response to reaching a settlement, Chancellor Jerry Jackson of the University of the Cumberlands sent out a news release that read: "Grant was a talented, well-liked young man entering his junior year with a bright future ahead of him," as cited by CNN.

"Our University community continues to mourn his untimely loss," he continued. "We sincerely hope that resolving this matter early in the legal process will offer the Brace family a measure of peace and healing."

"The University made the decision to settle the case now in a manner it hopes will respect the Brace family’s tremendous loss," they added.

Upon agreeing to the million-dollar payment, the family's legal team has revealed that the university is also expected to execute a heat-illness training programme called the B.R.A.C.E Protocol.

The protocol will educate "coaches and athletes about exertional heat strokes in order to prevent further heat-related deaths," as noted by the outlet.

In response to the University of the Cumberlands agreeing to the settlement, the student's family posted a statement on Facebook.

It read: "The civil lawsuit has been resolved and we rejected the University’s multiple attempts to make the settlement secret and confidential. We will never be silenced."

"We truly believe Grant’s story can have a tremendous impact on future heat stroke awareness, education, policies, protocols and advocacy. There are still many unanswered questions, but for the first time, we as a family are finally able to begin to share a glimpse into our tragic story."

"By doing so we aim to bring awareness to the dangers of heat illness in athletics. With appropriate education, it should never take another precious life," they added.

Our thoughts go out to Brace's family and friends for their loss.

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