University Agrees To A $14.1 Million Settlement In Death Of Student During "Punishment Practice"

The family of a student wrestler who died of heatstroke following a 'punishment practice' has reached a settlement agreement with the University of the Cumberlands.

Grant Brace, a 20-year-old student, died on August 31, 2020, following his participation in a wrestling training session held at the training facilities of the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky.

'Exertional heatstroke' was determined as the cause of Brace's death, which was confirmed after a video surfaced of the student frantically searching for water following the wrestling session.

The autopsy concluded that the death of the 20-year-old could have been avoided.

Details of a settlement agreement worth $41.4 million (£33.8 million) between Brace's family and the University of the Cumberlands were disclosed last week.

According to the Brace family's lawsuit, the wrestling team of the 20-year-old student was compelled to train in 84-degree heat and instructed by coaches to run up and down a hill referred to as 'punishment hill'.

The lawsuit also alleged that the student was threatened to be expelled from the team when he attempted to withdraw from the training.

CNN reported that the lawsuit claimed the team was not given water and that the coaches disregarded Brace's declining health condition.

During an interview with Good Morning America, another wrestling team member substantiated these claims.

Alex Myers said: "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."

The University of the Cumberlands' Chancellor Jerry Jackson remarked in a press release regarding the settlement: "Grant was a talented, well liked young man entering his junior year with a bright future ahead of him. 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 University made the decision to settle the case now in a manner it hopes will respect the Brace family's tremendous loss."

The family's attorney stated that as part of the $14.1 million settlement, the University is obligated to establish a heat illness training program named 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."

Brace's family issued a statement on Facebook in response to the University of the Cumberlands' decision to settle.

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."