USC looking into football player's tale of heroism

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USC coaches and school officials are looking into a player's story of a heroic rescue of a drowning child.

Josh Shaw, a senior captain on the Trojan football team, told his coaches he was at a family gathering in Palmdale, California this weekend when he saw his seven-year-old nephew in distress in the swimming pool, with no one around to help. In a story posted to the USC athletic website, Shaw said he jumped from the second floor balcony, injuring both ankles when he landed on the concrete. He was then able to crawl into the pool and pull his nephew to safety before using his upper body to pull himself up the pool's ladder.

But after the story spread on social media Monday evening, the USC coaching staff began to receive phone calls questioning the validity of Shaw's heroics.

Head coach Steve Sarkisian wouldn't tell the media who had called, but said the staff is vetting the story.

"I will say that Josh had never given us any indication not to believe his story. He's been a kid of very high character for us, a team leader, elected team captain. I had no reason not to believe him," Sarkisian said on the Pac-12 coaches' teleconference Tuesday.

Doctors say the nephew is physically fine, but shaken by the incident. Shaw was diagnosed with two high ankle sprains, which will leave him on the sidelines as the season starts this weekend.

"I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew," Shaw said. "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."

Palmdale Sheriff's Deputy Jason Ames told USA Today there was no record of a police call out involving Shaw. The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement Tuesday that said they had no record of a run-in with Shaw, after some outlets reported he was running from police when he was injured.

The Trojans host Fresno State in the season opener Saturday.