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Games brings tragedy and triumph

Meghan Martin | Monday, November 10, 2003

A fan who was transported from the Stadium to the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center before Saturday’s football game against Navy was pronounced dead at the hospital, University and hospital officials said.

Roger Bailey of Peoria, Ill., was found collapsed on the floor inside the upper-level men’s restroom near Section 123 of the Stadium not long after the gates opened to fans, University spokesman Matt Storin said.

Stadium ushers and Red Cross medical personnel responded to the emergency and transported Bailey to the Medical Center for treatment. He died later that day. Bailey was 49 years old.

“He collapsed in the restroom, they called for assistance and the medical people took him to St. Joseph Medical Center,” said Rex Rakow, director of the Notre Dame Security and Police Department. “He was pronounced [dead] at the hospital.”

Bailey, who officials say was attending the game with at least one brother, was assisted by medical staff from the upper-level first aid station, located just across the concourse from the men’s restroom.

“The usher who first spotted him also was able somehow … to send another usher to get the family. It is my understanding that it was done very quickly,” said Cappy Gagnon, director of stadium personnel.

Dr. Michael O’Connell, deputy coroner for St. Joseph County, said an autopsy will be performed today. When that is complete, O’Connell said, he should be able to determine the cause of Bailey’s death.

“Anything that sudden, as long as it is natural, is usually a heart attack,” he said.

Medical Center officials said Bailey was transported to St. Joseph Regional by the South Bend Fire Department’s ambulance service. They would not release any information regarding the cause of his death until later in the week.

“It will be a matter of public record once we’re sure everybody has been notified,” nursing supervisor Rita Goff said.