Wed Dec 28 09:51pm EST
By now, Mark Asper should be used to standing out, even among his fellow offensive linemen at Oregon: He's the biggest player on the team at 6-foot-7 and 325 pounds, the oldest player on the team at age 25 and one of the few players who doubles as a husband and father. As of Wednesday night, he may also be the only player who can count himself as a bona fide hero after saving a choking patron during the "Beef Bowl" — an annual prime rib dinner for Rose Bowl teams ahead of the game — at the original Lawry's in Beverly Hills.
[Related: The biggest college football gaffes of 2011]
According to Asper, he decided to put his Eagle Scout training to use when he noticed people at the next table "stirring in commotion" and saw a man, Paul Diamond, in obvious distress while his son, Tom — an Oregon student — made an unsuccessful attempt at the Heimlich Maneuver. "I patted (Tom Diamond) on the back and said, 'If you don't know what you're doing, I do, because I'm an Eagle Scout," Asper said. "The first heave was a test heave, because the guy seemed a little old, and I didn't want to break his ribs or anything. So test heave, then it seemed like he could handle the full force, so I popped it out."
No broken bones were reported, but the night wasn't entirely casualty-free: In the process of saving his life, Asper broke the elder Diamond's sunglasses. Not that he seemed too upset about it: "I'm going to go home and find [Asper] on Facebook," Diamond told the Eugene Register-Guard. "He's my new best friend." Aw, that sounds like a lot of fun.
In the meantime, Asper's night out is going to make for a slightly better Rose Bowl story than LaMichael James' trip to Space Mountain.
Other popular stories on the Yahoo! network:
• Video: Expect plenty of action in Rose, Fiesta bowls
• Not all high-profile college football coaches made the grade in their first season
• Yahoo! Year in Review: The standout news of 2011, top 10s and more