UNIVERSITY PARK (CBSLA.com) — University of Southern California officials Tuesday were investigating an incident where Trojan cornerback Josh Shaw injured both of his ankles after allegedly jumping from a balcony to save his drowning nephew.
Shaw was named a team captain on Saturday at the annual Salute To Troy celebration. Later that night, he was attending a family function at a cousin’s apartment in his hometown of Palmdale when he saw his 7-year-old nephew, who can’t swim, struggling in the pool, he told the school’s website.
With no one around, Shaw told USCTrojans.com that he instinctively 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.”
Shaw, a senior, suffered high ankle sprains and is out indefinitely.
On Tuesday, the Trojan athletic department, including head coach Steve Sarkisian, 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 Saturday night, 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, no history, to not believe Josh, and 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.
LAPD reportedly responded to a call around 10:20 p.m. on Saturday of a woman screaming in a downtown apartment. When authorities arrived, they received reports from neighbors of a man they say jumped from the back of an upper level apartment.
When police asked the woman in the apartment if she knew anyone that matched the description, she mentioned Josh Shaw, who she says is her boyfriend.
While Shaw’s name is part of the police report, he is currently not considered a suspect in the incident, and there is no crime currently reported.
Shaw’s family and friends told CBS2’s Brittney Hopper that they believe his story.
“I would be shocked if it were the case that Josh had made this up,” family friend Dione Scurry said. “He is a very, very good boy.”
Another family friend confirmed that Shaw’s nephew, the alleged near-victim, does not know how to swim.
“I personally do not think he would lie,” Laura Zenon said. “I know his little nephew. He doesn’t know how to swim.”
If the story turns out to be untrue, Shaw could be out longer than his expected healing time.
LAPD is investigating the incident, in addition to the school’s investigation.