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USC Football Player Injured After Jumping Off Balcony To Rescue Drowning Nephew [UPDATED]

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Josh Shaw, right (Photo by Neon Tommy via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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A USC cornerback injured both of his ankles when he jumped off a second-story balcony to rescue his 7-year-old nephew on the verge of drowning in a pool below.

Josh Shaw, a senior at USC, was at a family gathering on Saturday in Palmdale when he spotted his nephew, who cannot swim, struggling with no one around to help him, according to USC. Shaw jumped off a balcony and landed on the concrete below. He managed to crawl into the pool to rescue his nephew. Then he pulled himself up with a ladder since the pain was so sharp in his legs.

His dad James wasn't there when Shaw rescued his nephew, but he wasn't surprised. He told the Los Angeles Times, "That's Josh for you. That's about all you need to know about him."

Shaw's nephew survived physically unscathed though he was traumatized from the near-drowning. Shaw suffered high-ankle sprains in both legs, which will put him on the sidelines indefinitely.

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"I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew," Shaw told USC's site. "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 had just been named team captain at a dinner before his rescue. Head coach Steve Sarkisian was proud: "That was a heroic act by Josh, putting his personal safety aside. 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."

UPDATE 3:10 p.m.: There are a lot of rumors flying around about how Shaw injured his ankles. For now the LAPD is releasing a statement saying they're not aware of him being involved in any criminal incident. Cmdr. Andrew Smith, LAPD spokesman, said, “We’ve got no record of us having a run in with him,” Smith said. "That’s not to say something didn’t happen with him. We have no record of anything happening."

This doesn't tell us a whole lot, especially given that Shaw was supposedly in Palmdale and out the LAPD's jurisdiction. But we shall see.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: Or not. There are a couple media reports—very short on details—that it didn't go down the way Shaw said it did. TMZ says the Los Angeles County Fire Department in Palmdale wasn't notified of the near-drowning, and the Associated Press says Sarkisian is investigating the story after getting calls contradicting Shaw's story:

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Sarkisian said Tuesday that he has no reason to doubt Shaw's story. But USC has received calls contradicting Shaw's claims about his two high ankle sprains. Sarkisian didn't discuss the discrepancies in detail after practice, but said the school will "continue to vet" the story.