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Tuioti coaches child's birth on flight home

By Stephen Tsai

LAST UPDATED: 1:51 a.m. HST, Oct 13, 2010

In the airplane's appropriately named coach class, Tony Tuioti put to use the patience and focus he learned from his coaching class.

"I told her to take deep breaths," Tuioti said, recalling the technique he used as his wife's Lamaze coach this past weekend.

Keala Tuioti gave birth to the couple's seventh child early Saturday in a race-the-clock drama.

After the Hawaii football team upset Fresno State in Fresno Saturday night, Tony Tuioti, UH's defensive line coach, was on the phone with his wife.

"Good job," Keala told Tony. "I can't wait until you get home."

But shortly after, Keala felt a sharp contraction. Ten minutes later, there was another one.

Tony encouraged his wife to use the Lamaze breathing technique whenever she felt pain. At the time, Tony was boarding UH's flight from Fresno to Las Vegas.

Shortly after arriving in Las Vegas, Tony called Keala, who said she was leaving their North Shore house for the hospital in Moanalua. Tony stayed on the phone the entire time, trying to calm Keala.

In the hospital, Keala began having hard contractions. Tony's cousin held her phone, which was on "speaker," to her ear as Tony spoke words of encouragement.

"This is probably the most vulnerable position you can be in as a man, hearing your wife go through that," Tony said. "It gives you great appreciation for women and their strength and what they do."

In the airplane for the flight to Honolulu, Tony continued his coaching. Ignoring the warning to turn off his cell, Tony talked to Keala as the plane began rolling down the runway.

"I told her I loved her, and I would keep talking until the phone cut off," he said. Shortly afterward, the line went silent.

"It was hard to sleep," he said. "You never know what can happen in labor. All I did was say a prayer. I believe in the power of prayer."

An hour after they last spoke, Keala gave birth. When the plane landed, Tony called his wife.

"I said, 'Is it a boy or a girl?'" Tony recalled. "She said the baby is 9 pounds, 4 ounces.' I said, 'Oh, it's a boy.' She said, 'No, it's a girl.' "

They named her Teinia. All of their children's names begin with "Tei."

"This is a blessing," Tony said.


Brown in stitches

OK, break out your best Tony Montana imitations. Linebacker Aaron Brown has heard them all.

"Everybody on the team has something to say," said Brown, rolling his eyes.

In the fourth quarter against Fresno State, Brown suffered a cut under his right eye that eventually would require 25 stitches.

During a tackle, his chin strap broke, causing his helmet to come up. When he fell to the ground, the ball-carrier's cleat struck his face.

"When I looked down, my (right) hand was all bloody," Brown said. "I thought I lost my (right) eye at first. I couldn't see out of it."

A butterfly bandage was placed on the cut, although it continued to bleed. Then Brown went back onto the field.

"The game wasn't over yet," Brown said. "My face has nothing to do with my legs, so I'm going to go. It's the love of the game. Coach always talks about finishing. That's what I did. I finished the game."


Family gathering

In an intermediate game several years ago, defensive end Kapono Rawlins-Crivello tackled running back Mana Lolotai. Both players stood up and stared at their mirror images. It was the first time the two second cousins met.

After the game, they noticed their parents were taking to each other. That is when they learned they were related.

Rawlins-Crivello and Lolotai are now UH linebackers. Rawlins-Crivello recently received clearance to play for the Warriors.

Rawlins-Crivello played for Boise State through the 2007 season. When he learned his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, he withdrew from school and returned to Hawaii. He said his mother is in remission, and now feeling healthy.

Because Boise State did not grant a scholarship release, Rawlins-Crivello needed to wait two years before playing for another WAC school. A delay in filing his paperwork kept him ineligible until this past Friday. Rawlins-Crivello has cleared all of his medical tests and will practice with the Warriors tomorrow. He only has this year of eligibility. "That's OK," he said. "I'm happy to be playing again."

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