Student wrestler dies after coaches ignore his pleas for water during 'punishment sprints'
4th June 2022

A COLLEGE wrestler has died after his coaches reportedly ignored his demands for water following grueling punishment sprints, according to a police report.

University of the Cumberlands student Grant Brace, 20, passed away in Kentucky on August 31, 2021.

Brace and other athletes were required to sprint up a steep hill several times as part of conditioning training, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The athlete, who was from Tennessee, completed the laps up the so-called "Punishment Hill", which had a 30-40 per cent incline, Fox29 reported.

Two hours after the conditioning session finished, Brace was found dead on the ground after collapsing in his own vomit, KATV reported.

The student clutched the grass after falling to the ground.

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Coroners revealed he died from exertional heatstroke and experts said it was 100 per cent preventable.

Williamsburg cops interviewed dozens of students who were part of the wrestling team as they investigated Brace’s death.

His teammates reportedly told cops that they were not allowed to touch their water bottles during the session.

Students claimed that instructors had told them to throw their drinks on the fence.

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Witnesses revealed that Brace had fallen behind during the sprints.

Coaches reportedly told him to leave the session and instructed him to “clean out his locker”, police said.

But, minutes later, Brace returned to the hill – determined to prove himself to the coaches and his teammates.

Wayne Bird, of Williamsburg Police, revealed that witnesses told cops that Brace was “swaying back and forth” after the laps.

He reportedly told teammates: “I can’t stand", according to the cop.


Bird said witnesses told police that Brace opened a cooler of ice and splashed it on his face as he tried to cool down.

But, he reportedly kept shouting: “Guys, I need water. Get me some water.”

A lawsuit filed in August 2021 alleged that head coach Jordan Countryman and assistant head coach Jake Sinkovics didn’t give him water.

Brace reportedly tried to find a water fountain before he collapsed and died, according to the suit.

It states that he was diagnosed with narcolepsy and ADHD and his family was promised that accommodations would be made when he participated on the team.

The lawsuit alleged that the Countryman and Sinkovics refused to “honor” the wrestler’s water breaks that he was reportedly allowed.

Countryman became the wrestling head coach in 2018 before resigning in 2021.

Sinkovics became the assistant head coach in 2019 but he is no longer employed by the university.

Countryman and Sinkovics were accused of gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress, according to the Herald-Leader.

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Brace joined the wrestling team in 2018 after a 128-33 record in high school in Alcoa.

He was a member of the school's three-time state champion football team and National Honors Society.

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