Southern California coach Steve Sarkisian says the school is investigating defensive back Josh Shaw’s story that he injured both of his ankles jumping off a balcony to save his nephew from drowning.
Sarkisian said USC has received calls contradicting Shaw’s detailed claims about his two high ankle sprains. Shaw’s story was told in a detailed post on the Trojans’ website Monday hailing the fifth-year senior’s heroism.
“We’re looking at it,” Sarkisian said after practice Tuesday. “Josh is adamant with what occurred, and we’ll continue to vet some of the other stories that have come across our desk or across our phones, and see where we can go from there.”
Sarkisian said he had “no history to not believe Josh and his story.” The first-year USC coach declined to discuss the discrepancies in detail, or the identity of the callers who contradicted the story. Shaw wasn’t made available to reporters, and he didn’t immediately return a phone message Tuesday.
Shaw apparently told the school he was at a family party in Palmdale, California, when he saw his 7-year-old nephew, Carter, struggling in a pool. According to the website post, Shaw jumped from a second-story balcony onto concrete before dragging himself into the pool and rescuing his nephew, who doesn’t know how to swim.
Although Shaw’s injuries aren’t expected to keep him out for the season, Sarkisian still wants to know exactly how they happened.
“I think it’s important to know your players,” Sarkisian said. “Josh Shaw has been a good leader for us. He’s given me no reason not to believe what he has told us that occurred, but we do need to know. I think it’s important to know in the direction we’re headed.”
Shaw is a team captain and a starter in the Trojans’ secondary and is widely regarded as a solid teammate. The Florida transfer is a key component of USC’s defensive secondary, considered one of the nation’s best groups.
Shaw had four interceptions while starting 14 games last season, his second with the Trojans. He has played both safety and cornerback, moving around a defense with little depth due to NCAA sanctions.
Southern California senior cornerback Josh Shaw injured both ankles after leaping from a second-story balcony to save his 7-year-old nephew from drowning in a pool.
Shaw was named a team captain on Saturday and later that night was attending a family function at a cousin’s apartment in his hometown of Palmdale when he saw his nephew, Carter, who can’t swim, struggling in the pool.
With no one around, Shaw jumped from the balcony onto the concrete below and crawled to the pool, where he pulled Carter to safety, he said. 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 team 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 was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with two high ankle sprains and will be out indefinitely. He said Carter was traumatized, but physically in good shape.
“That was a heroic act by Josh, putting his personal safety aside,” Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian said. “But that’s the kind of person he is. 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.”