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Oregon football player performs Heimlich on man at ‘Beef Bowl’

December 29, 2011 |  7:38 am

The real Rose Bowl excitement may have happened well before kickoff on Monday. At the annual Beef Bowl at Lawry's in Beverly Hills –- a pregame tradition –- Oregon tackle Mark Asper put his size and strength to the test by performing the Heimlich maneuver on a man choking during dinner.

Asper told the Los Angeles Times that he noticed a commotion at a table near his where a man, the father of an Oregon student, gave the "universal 'Help me, I'm choking' signal.'"

A restaurant chef apparently attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver but was unsuccessful. That's when the 6-foot-7, 325-pound Asper stepped in.

"I stood up and patted [the chef] on the back and said, 'If you don't know what you're doing, I do, because I'm an Eagle Scout,' " Asper said. "So I whipped in there."

Asper's first attempt was "a test heave."

"The guy seemed a little old," Asper said. "I didn't want to break his ribs or anything. Then he seemed like he could handle a full-force heave so I popped it out."

The man, Paul Diamond of Sherman Oaks, credited Asper for giving "a proper Heimlich bear hug" helping him cough the meat up.

He said suggestions that his life was in danger were an exaggeration. "But he did a nice thing and did it well, and I'm quite grateful. Not a big deal."

The Beef Bowl has been a tradition since 1956. As of last year, Lawry's had claimed to have served more than 75,000 pounds of Midwestern corn-fed beef to about 19,000 players and coaches over the last five decades.


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-- Melissa Rohlin