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Duck lineman summons Eagle Scout skills to save choking diner

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

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]

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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.

[Related: What terrifies Oregon running back LaMichael James]

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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