Parents of College Wrestler Say He ‘Begged Coaches for Water’ Before Dying of Heatstroke: 'It’s So Egregious'
Grant Brace is seen on surveillance footage frantically trying to get into a building at University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky, during wrestling practice in August 2020, but the door is locked.
College athlete Grant Brace was seen on surveillance footage frantically searching for water in the moments before his death, which his family says in an interview with Inside Edition was "inexcusable."
The footage shows Grant trying to get into a building at the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky, during wrestling practice in August 2020, but the door is locked. Now severely dehydrated, Grant’s parents say he ran to a nearby fountain in a desperate attempt to find water. But the fountain was bone dry.
People later found his body and tried in vain to give the 20-year-old CPR, but it was too late.
Grant's grieving parents, Kyle and Jackie Brace, now say their son would still be alive today if his coaches allowed him to get a sip of water.
"He was begging for water: 'Guys, help me! Please help me,'" Grant's father Kyle tells Inside Edition.
His mother Jackie says her son's final moments were spent desperately trying to get some water.
"It was hot. It was very hot," Jackie says. "The surveillance video showed that he was trying to get in the school to get help, wasn't successful."
She adds: "And then was found close to a water fountain on his hands."
An autopsy found Grant's death was due to “exertional” heat stroke.
"It is inexcusable," says Kyle.
On the day he died, Grant's parents say his coaches made him and other teammates run up and down a steep hill seven times. But when Grant became exhausted and begged for a water break, one of his coaches allegedly told him to keep going or he'd be kicked off the team.
"They called it 'Punishment Hill,' so it was known on campus," says Jackie of the training location that day.
It was a grueling day of practice in 80-degree heat, and in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jamie Moncus, the Brace’s attorney in the case alleged that when Grant's friends on the wrestling squad made an effort to give him water, his two coaches "yelled at student-athletes who tried to...[provide] him water... insist[ing] Grant needed to... get the water himself."
He was panicked. He clearly needed help and he wasn’t getting any from the coaches,” said Moncus from the law firm Miner Vines Moncus.
Grant allegedly responded by conveying how much pain he was in, according to the lawsuit, which claimed: "Grant begged, 'I need water, somebody help me...I feel like I'm going to die, I feel like my head is going to explode.'"
He then ran off to find water, but only found a locked door and a broken fountain.
His heartbroken sister Kaylee shared with Inside Edition voice memos the family discovered Grant had recorded before he died.
"When I found those memos, I mean, I was just appalled. Literally hearing your brother say, you know, 'I'm recording these in case something bad were to happen to me by the coaches,' there's no words," says Kaylee.
"It should never have happened," says Kyle. "It is just so egregious. It's absolutely disgusting."
Without admitting any wrongdoing, the Brace’s lawsuit against Grant’s coaches and the University of the Cumberland’s was settled, with the school paying $14 million.
"The University made the decision to settle the case now in a manner it hopes will respect the Brace family's tremendous loss," the school said in a statement at the time.
That statement also noted that they will engage with a national heat expert to raise awareness about heat-related injuries saying, [it] "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."
Grant's coaches did not respond to requests for comment from Inside Edition.
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