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Northern Michigan player who drowned had epilepsy

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm •  Published: January 24, 2013
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The trio rushed to the pool, where Theut jumped in and instructed Aldrich to grab a backboard and for DiLeonardi to call 911. She also asked them to get Connor Greer, a student employee with lifeguard training.

DiLeonardi, in a breathless but deliberate voice, told the 911 dispatcher what happened, requested an ambulance and said she had to help remove Alioto from the pool. The dispatcher insisted that someone stay on the line, so DiLeonardi set the phone down without ending the call.

What followed was a harrowing seven minutes in which Theut and the three others joined EMTs in an unsuccessful effort to save Alioto.

"Can you hear me? Can you hear me?" Theut can be heard asking Alioto, who vomited after being removed from the water. Aldrich and Greer told police they also noticed white foam coming from Alioto's mouth.

"Come on, sweetheart, wake up! Come on, come on, come on, come on! Wake up, sweetheart!" pleaded Theut. "Come on, sweetie, you can do this! Come on, stay with me, OK?! Stay with me!"

Alioto was pronounced dead at a hospital at around 6:15 p.m., and the Marquette County medical examiner's office listed her cause of death as accidental drowning.

Several people interviewed by police described Alioto as a competent swimmer, if not a strong one. It's unclear why no one noticed she went missing during practice or was in trouble.

Several teammates told police that Alioto had epilepsy, and some of them — including Granstrand — said they were unaware of her medical condition. Christine Greer, the school's dean of students, told police that Alioto's mother had told her that her daughter could only go a day-and-a-half without taking her medication before becoming susceptible to a potential seizure. Roommate Lola Weiss told police that Alioto took epilepsy medication and had seen her friend have a seizure last summer.

Nearly two months later, Northern Michigan continues "to deal with the shock of her death," school president and 1972 NMU grad David Haynes said last week in a statement.

"While the investigation is completed as far as the police report goes, I don't know yet what kind of changes might come out of our ongoing discussions about the drowning. What I do know ... is that Arianna Alioto was a wonderful young lady, and her loss is felt deeply."