Former Penn linebacker dies after diving for lobsters in Pompano Beach

Joseph Grosso pronounced dead at Broward Health North


POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – A former University of Pennsylvania football player has died after a diving trip in Pompano Beach.

Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Gina Carter said Joseph Grosso, 22, of Lighthouse Point, was diving for lobsters with a large group of people in the water off Pompano Beach when he decided to go back into the water alone.

When the staff realized he hadn't resurfaced, they began to search for him and found him unresponsive.

Grosso was brought to the Hillsboro Inlet marina, where paramedics were waiting to take him to Broward Health North. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

"Someone was doing CPR on the guy, you know, the whole time," witness Nick Ruciniski said.

Local 10 News has learned that Grosso graduated from Pope John Paul II High School in Boca Raton and was a standout linebacker for the Quakers. Grosso totaled 43 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception in 31 career games for the Quakers from 2010-13.

"The entire Penn football family is saddened by the tragic news of Joe's passing," Penn football coach Al Bagnoli said in a statement. "Joe was a terrific young man, an accomplished student and an outstanding player. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family during this very difficult period."

Phil Franchina said his stepson graduated with honors from Penn and was about to begin law school at the University of Miami. In fact, Grosso intended to play his final season of eligibility for the Hurricanes.

His death could be the first of Florida's two-day lobster mini-season, which began Wednesday.

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