Grant Brace, 20, was found dead by his coaches after they mocked him for asking for water during strenuous physical training.
A Kentucky university has agreed to pay more than $14 million to settle claims that a student wrestler died after being denied water.
According to The Associated Press, the settlement resolves a lawsuit filed by the family of 20-year-old Grant Brace, a Tennessee student who had attended the University of the Cumberlands in neighboring Kentucky.
Aside from a financial award, the settlement requires university officials to participate in a heat-illness training program.
Brace, writes The Associated Press, passed away on August 31, 2020.
Investigators determined that the wrestler died from heat stroke during the university wrestling team’s first day of training.
After practice, the lawsuit claimed, Brace and his teammates were told to sprint multiple times up and down a steep hill.
While Brace completed several runs, he had to take a brief break—prompting his coach to threaten him.
According to the Brace family’s attorneys, the then-wrestling coach threatened to kick Brace off the team unless he completed the exercise.
“I’m done,” Brace later said, “I can’t do this anymore.”
Brace reportedly began to beg for water.
“Suffering from heat stroke, Grant begged ‘I need water, somebody help me,'” the lawsuit claimed, adding that Brace had told other wrestlers that he felt like he was dying.
“Do you think you are special and are allowed more water?” Brace’s coaches allegedly asked.
Even as his condition began to deteriorate, the coaches failed to provide Brace with water, contact a trainer, or call medical services.
After the team returned inside, Brace’s coaches began to scream at the young athlete.
Brace eventually left to find an off-site water fountain. However, the water fountain did not work, and Brace was unable to enter any nearby buildings.
About 45 minutes after Brace left the practice, a coach found him dead, his hands still clenching grass and dirt.
While the University of the Cumberlands said it believes that it could have defended the claims against it, a spokesperson said that the school decided to settle to minimize its long-term costs.
“The University made the decision to settle the case now in a manner it hopes will respect the Brace family’s tremendous loss,” it said in a statement.
The University of the Cumberlands stressed that the safety of its students and athletes is a top priority.
[The University] welcomes the opportunity to work with the Brace family’s consultant to ensure it is providing the safest environment possible for student-athletes in all sports,” the school added.