UPDATE: USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian admitted to reporters Tuesday that the school has begun examining claims made by defensive back Josh Shaw that he injured himself while saving a nephew from drowning over the weekend.
Sarkisian confirmed media reports that the USC athletic department has received phone calls contradicting Shaw's story, which the Trojans' media relations staff made public on the school's official website on Monday.
According to USC’s RipsIt Blog, Shaw was attending a function at his cousin’s apartment when he looked down from the second-floor balcony and saw his 7-year-old nephew, who cannot swim, had fallen in the pool and was struggling to stay afloat. With total disregard for personal safety, Shaw jumped off the balcony and landed on the concrete below (we assume feet first considering the ankle sprains).
He then crawled into the pool, grabbed his nephew and got him to safety. Then, even though both of his legs were in immense pain, he was able to get to the pool ladder and pull himself out of the pool.
"I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew," Shaw told the blog. "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."
We’ve heard of some amazing stories of valor before, but this one has to be right up there. To instinctively leap from a second-story balcony, risking great personal injury, is heroic and unbelievable. As coach Steve Sarkisian points out, not many people would have taken that leap.
"That was a heroic act by Josh, putting his personal safety aside. But that's the kind of person he is,” Sarkisian told the blog. “It is unfortunate that he'll be sidelined for a while and we will miss his leadership and play, but I know he'll be working hard to get back on the field as soon as possible."
Shaw was named team captain this past weekend at the Salute to Troy dinner and he definitely exudes leadership on and off the field. Hopefully when he returns to the field, Trojan fans — and college football fans in general — will give him a standing ovation for his bravery.