As an offensive lineman for Oregon, Mark Asper usually does his work out of the spotlight.
But the senior from Idaho made a huge pre-Rose Bowl play Wednesday night during the Ducks’ trip to Lawry’s the Prime Rib in Beverly Hills for their turn at the annual “Beef Bowl.”
During the meal, Asper said he noticed a commotion at a table near his. A man, he said, “was giving the universal ‘Help me, I’m choking’ signal.’ ”
The 6-foot-7, 325-pound Asper said another man attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver but was unsuccessful.
“I stood up and patted him 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 ripped 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 he assisted, Paul Diamond of Sherman Oaks, is the father of an Oregon student.
“Mr. Asper came and did a proper Heimlich bearhug and I coughed the meat up,” Diamond told City News Service, adding, “The posts that say he saved my life are exaggerating. But he did a nice thing and did it well, and I’m quite grateful. Not a big deal.”
Asper, who had never performed the maneuver in a real situation, said he felt compelled to act.
“They’d take away my merit badges and my Eagle Scout card, you know,” he said. “My brother’s a doctor so I joke I should be in the medical field anyway.”