Settlement reached in case of wrestler’s death at U. of Cumberlands

On August 31, 2020, Grant Brace, a member of the University of the Cumberlands wrestling team, died after a practice with the head coach, Jordan Countryman, and assistant coach, Jake Sinkovics.

According to reports, the team was given a “punishment practice” on “punishment hill.” The steep hill is used to force the team to run sprints up and down seven times. After Brace sat down after several laps, Countryman threatened to throw him off the team and ordered him back up the hill. When a teammate tried to offer Brace water, Countryman didn’t allow it.

Brace begged for water and help, but Countryman allegedly kept pushing. Brace continued to deteriorate, but allegedly the coaches didn't get him water, nor did they call medical personnel. Brace exhibited signs of heat stroke, such as confused speech.

He tried to get into a building, but it was locked. He also tried to use an outdoor water fountain, but it wasn’t functional. Brace collapsed and died.

About 45 minutes after Brace left practice, the coaches went looking for him. They found him dead with his hands clenched in the grass and dirt.

The University of the Cumberlands settled with the family for over $14 million. The University must also train personnel about heat-related illnesses and promote Brace’s family’s efforts to raise awareness about heat-related illnesses and deaths.

Billy Mosley, Lead Reporter for The Kentucky Daily

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