Grant Brace death: The University of the Cumberlands agrees to a settlement after a wrestler dies of heat stroke after begging for water

WILLIAMSBURG, Kentucky– A Kentucky university has agreed to a more than $14 million settlement over the death of a wrestler student hours after practice, the school said.

The settlement over the death of 20-year-old Junior Grant Brace, of Louisville, Tennessee, includes an agreement for the University of the Cumberlands to participate in a heat illness training program and raise awareness of heat-related injuries, the university said in a statement Wednesday .

Brace’s death on August 31, 2020 from heat stroke after asking for water and being refused “was tragic and entirely preventable,” news outlets reported, citing the lawsuit.

This photo, provided by the University of the Cumberlands, shows Grant Brace.

University of the Cumberlands via AP

“They did it and they didn’t care,” Grant’s father, Kyle Brace, told Good Morning America. “They didn’t care.”

“It ended up killing him,” his mother Jackie Brace said.

Brace has been diagnosed with narcolepsy and ADHD and has been prescribed Adderall, which the lawsuit says requires staying hydrated.

He died on the first day of practice for the wrestling team of the season. After practice, the team had to sprint up and down a steep hill several times, and Brace completed several times before sitting down from exhaustion. The coach at the time threatened to kick Brace off the wrestling team, so he ran back up the hill and was later heard to say, “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore,” the lawsuit said.

He begged for water and his condition continued to deteriorate, but the trainers did not provide water and did not contact the trainer or emergency medical personnel, according to the lawsuit. Brace left and attempted to drink from a non-working outdoor water fountain.


A screenshot from surveillance video provided to ABC News shows Grant Brace trying to break into the locked wrestling building before he dies.

Surveillance video shared with ABC News by the family’s attorney shows Brace struggling to open a locked door at the wrestling building. About an hour later, he was found collapsed about 300 meters away, not far from a non-working water well.

About 45 minutes later, according to the suit, the trainers found him dead with his hands clenched in the grass and dirt.

“He was on all fours and he had his hands buried in the dirt and he had a handful of dirt,” his father said. “It is too late.”

A role in the incident was played by a series of voice memos left on Brace’s phone documenting other alleged mistreatment by the wrestling department from a previous season.

He can be heard saying, “Grant’s daily blog for Mom and Dad in case anything bad happens to me.”

“They started to see a picture that this wasn’t just an incident that went wrong,” family attorney Jamie Moncus said. “That was a pattern.”

The university said in a statement that it believed it could defend the claims made in the lawsuit, but litigation would have been lengthy and costly.

“The university has made the decision to resolve the case now in a manner that it hopes will respect the tremendous loss of the Brace family,” the statement said.

Student and athlete safety is its top priority and it “welcomes the opportunity to work with the Brace family advisor to ensure it provides the safest environment possible for students and athletes in all sports.”

Brace’s parents said the settlement was not about money but about holding the university accountable.

ABC News’ Em Nguyen contributed to this report. Grant Brace death: The University of the Cumberlands agrees to a settlement after a wrestler dies of heat stroke after begging for water

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