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USC Investigates Star Athlete's Claim He Hurt Ankles When He Jumped From Balcony to Save Drowning Boy

( [email protected] ) Aug 26, 2014 07:09 PM EDT
Defensive back Josh Shaw told the school he hurt his ankles when he jumped from a balcony to save his nephew, but the school has received conflicting stories.
Usc defensive back Josh Shaw (6) said he acted on instinct and ignored risk of bodily harm to save his drowning nephew. AP

Coach Steve Sarkisian told reporters on Tuesday that the school was investigating defensive back Josh Shaw's claim that he injured himself after jumping off a balcony to save his drowning nephew over the weekend.

Shaw, who was named a team captain on Saturday at the annual Salute To Troy celebration, claims to have sprained both of his ankles when, later that night, he jumped from a second story balcony when he looked down and saw his young nephew who could not swim struggling in the swimming pool below. According to Shaw, the incident happened while he was attending a family function at a cousin's apartment in his hometown of Palmdale.

With no one around, Shaw said that his instincts to help kicked in, and he jumped from the balcony onto the concrete below and crawled to the pool, where he pulled Carter to safety. Unable to step out of the pool because of the pain in his ankles, Shaw lifted himself up the ladder with his upper body.

"I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew," Shaw told the school's website. "My ankles really hurt, but I am lucky to be surrounded by the best trainers and doctors in the world. I am taking my rehab one day at a time, and I hope to be back on the field as soon as possible."

Unfortunately this led to both ankles being sprained, and he is now out indefinitely.

But the story does not end there.

On Tuesday, head coach Steve Sarkisian, who originally called the actions heroic, revealed that the school had received several calls that disputed the star athlete's statement.

"Obviously in the last few hours, we've gotten a few phone calls contradicting what Josh said occurred . . . so we are going to continue to vet it," Sarkisian said in a news conference following Tuesday morning's practice.

Sarkisian declined to say who contacted him about the allegations.

"He came to us with what happened Saturday night, and I have no reason to not believe his story and what has occurred," Sarkisian added.

USC officials were not allowing the 6 foot 1 inch cornerback to do interviews while the claims were investigated.

"Josh is adamant about what occurred," Sarkisian said.

The Trojan head coach also added that team doctors have examined Shaw and have not found any broken bones in his legs.

"The X-rays and MRIs that we have taken on him have come back negative so far, so we don't see anything structurally wrong with him, but he is very sore," he said.