TRENTON – Senator Gopal’s bill honoring Braeden Bradforth passed through the Senate Higher Education Committee on Thursday. The death of this star athlete due to exertional heat stroke after football practice sent a shockwave through his community, and devastated his family. This legislation seeks to protect other student athletes from suffering Braeden’s fate.
The Bradforth family’s attorney, Ms. Jill Greene stated, “Braeden’s mom, Joanne, and I are incredibly excited to learn that Senator Gopal’s Braeden’s Law has gained the support and strength it so deserves. NJ desperately needs legislation such as Braeden’s law which is specifically geared towards implementing proper protocol and mandatory requirements concerning student athletes and EHS. Had the symptoms of EHS been properly recognized, had proper equipment been readily available and had a plan of action been in place, Braeden might still be with us today. Braeden’s bill will help prevent another student from suffering the consequences of fatal exertional heat stroke and for that we are grateful for the Senator’s hard work and perseverance in regard to this bill.”
Under the bill, school districts and New Jersey public colleges will be required to establish a policy to prevent and treat exertional heat illnesses in athletes for all practices, games, and athletic contests. These policies must outline strategies for acclimatizing players to hot weather, guidelines for modifying or cancelling games in sufficiently hot weather, and a requirement that student-athletes have uninhibited access to hydration and a space to cool off. Student-athletes and coaches will also be educated on how to minimize the risk of exertional heat stroke.
“I am happy to see this bill was voted out of the Senate Higher Education Committee today,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch). “This legislature will ensure schools and universities are keeping their players safe on and off the field. What happened to Braeden should never happen again, and this legislation will put procedures in place to help protect students’ health.”