The story of the USC football player injured saving his nephew from drowning made him a hero, but now school officials are huddling to determine if the tale checks out.
Senior cornerback Joshua Shaw likely won't play in the Trojans' season opener Saturday against Fresno State, because of a pair of high ankle sprains he says he got jumping off a balcony into a pool to save the 7-year-old. While Trojan Coach Steve Sarkisian initially praised Shaw for "putting his personal safety aside," the coach said Tuesday afternoon there may be more - or less - to the story.
"Josh Shaw first and foremost is a good person, he's a good kid," Sarkisian said at a news conference Tuesday. "He came to us with what had occurred Saturday night and I have no reason or history to not believe Josh and his story and what has occurred. Obviously in the last few hours or so, a few phone calls contradicting what Josh said occurred Saturday night, so we're going to vet it, so we're looking at it.
"Beyond that I know what I know: Josh is adamant about what occurred and we're going to continue to vet some of the stories that have come across our desk or our phones and see what we have and go from there," Sarkisian added.
The school originally said the incident occurred Saturday evening, when Shaw was attending a family party at his cousin's apartment in Palmdale, Calif. At one point, Shaw saw his nephew Carter, who cannot swim, struggling in the apartment complex's pool, according to the first version of the story. With no one else nearby, Shaw jumped off the balcony onto the concrete below. Despite the pain, USC said Shaw was able to crawl into the pool and pull his nephew to safety before maneuvering himself out of the water, the school said..
Shaw was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with two high ankle sprains. He said Carter was traumatized, but physically in good shape.
Earlier in the evening, Shaw had been named a team captain. Now, he will be sidelined indefinitely due to his injuries.
"I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew," Shaw told USC'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."
USC is not making Shaw available to the media until it sorts the story out.
A transfer from Florida, Shaw has six interceptions in two seasons at USC. He started all 14 games in 2013.