Family of 20-Year-Old College Wrestler Reaches $14M Settlement After Son Dies of Heat Stroke

The parents of former University of the Cumberlands wrestler Grant Brace claim he died because coaches refused to give him water following an intense training session

Grant Brace
Photo: University of the Cumberlands

A Tennessee family has reached a multi-million-dollar settlement with a Kentucky university after their son died of a heat stroke following a workout with the wrestling team.

According to the Associated Press, the parents of 20-year-old Grant Brace sued the University of the Cumberlands after their son died hours after the first training day of the wrestling season in 2020.

In a statement to PEOPLE, the university said the settlement exceeds $14 million and that they have agreed to participate in a heat-illness training program and to help raise awareness of heat-related injuries.

"Grant was a talented, well-liked young man entering his junior year with a bright future ahead of him," University Chancellor Jerry Jackson said in the statement. "Our University community continues to mourn his untimely loss. We sincerely hope that resolving this matter early in the legal process will offer the Brace family a measure of peace and healing."

The lawsuit, cited by AP, claimed that members of the Cumberlands wrestling team were asked to sprint multiple times up and down a hill on that day in August 2020.

Brace followed through with the drills until he became exhausted. But after his coach threatened to kick him off the team, he continued.

Eventually, Brace stopped the drills and asked for water, but the coaches did not provide any or contact emergency personnel, the family claimed.

After leaving the training session, Brace attempted to drink from an outdoor water fountain that was not working. Surveillance footage published by Good Morning America also showed him trying to enter a locked building.

Brace eventually collapsed about 300 yards away from a non-working water fountain.

As reported by ABC affiliate WTVD, Brace had narcolepsy and ADHD and was prescribed Adderall, which requires hydration.

"They did it and didn't care," Grant's father, Kyle Brace, told Good Morning America. "They didn't care."

Nearly an hour later, the wrestling coaches found Brace dead of a heat stroke with his hands gripping the grass and dirt, the lawsuit stated, per WTVD.

"He was on all fours, and he had dug his hands in the dirt, and he had fistfuls of dirt," Kyle told Good Morning America. "It's too late."

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In their statement to PEOPLE, the university said it believed it could defend itself from the claims but chose to settle to avoid a lengthy and costly legal process.

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

According to the Washington Post, the university said the two wrestling coaches involved in that day's session have since resigned.

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