Joseph Grosso, a 2014 Penn graduate and former Quakers linebacker, died Wednesday while lobster diving off the coast of Pompano Beach, Florida.
“Joe was everything a person strives to be. He knew how to have a good time, he always had his friends’ backs, and he had a smile on his face doing it,” Grosso’s football teammate Dan Wilk said in an email. “I can’t really put into words how it feels. Joey taught me to live in the moment and to keep chasing your dreams. I won’t be able to look at Penn the same way.”
Grosso graduated with honors in May from the College of Arts and Sciences with a major in politics, philosophy and economics. He was planning to attend the University of Miami in the fall and had achieved his dream of becoming a member of Miami’s football team, Wilk said.
"Joey was one of my biggest role models on the team for the past three years. His work ethic and deep love for the game had a strong impact on me as a player and a teammate," Brion Wood, Grosso's football teammate, said in an email. "I'll always remember him as a mentor, but more importantly, a friend."
The six-foot, 220-pound Penn linebacker played for the Quakers football team since his freshman year at Penn, finishing his Penn football career with 43 tackles in 31 career games and helping his team win two Ivy League championships.
“Over the past four years we did everything together on and off the field like family. [He] was loved and respected by everyone who had the chance to meet him,” said his teammate Evan Jackson.
Grosso was lobster diving on a commercial boat with a large group of people off the coast of Pompano Beach on Wednesday when the incident happened, Florida’s Broward County Sheriff’s office confirmed. The group had just come back into the boat from a dive when Grosso decided to re-submerge alone. When the dive boat staff realized he hadn’t resurfaced, they searched for him and found him unresponsive.
Pompano Beach Fire Rescue performed CPR and advanced life support procedures and transported him to Broward Health North Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“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.”
Broward Sheriff's Office homicide detectives are still investigating the death, which occurred on the first day of the lobster mini-season at Pompano Beach, but the death does not appear suspicious, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
The Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office could not be reached for comment.
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