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Post & Courier (Charleston, SC)
CLEMSON - Clemson's football team had just finished practice Tuesday night and Dabo Swinney was addressing his team when the Tigers heard a loud collision outside.
It was around 6:20 p.m. and the Tigers were wrapping up, when moments later, they heard a second collision about 300 yards away. At that point, Clemson's No. 2 football team instinctively sprung into action.
When they ran outside of Clemson's practice facility, they saw a car sliding down a bank near the Seneca River, which runs around Clemson's facility. It was by Perimeter Road, not far from Clemson's football "graveyard," where the teams the Tigers have knocked off over the years are "buried."
The car's passenger, Clary Miles, was in the car when it slid about 100 feet, which according to the university, left both him and the vehicle about 20 feet from the river. Miles is a freshman at Clemson and works in the football office. He has known the Swinney family for over a decade and is classmates with Will Swinney, Dabo Swinney's oldest son, who is a wide receiver/holder on the football team.
According to Clemson, sports medicine assistant Scott Crowthers, student athletic trainer Bailey Black, student managers Jack Wardlaw and Jack Sari, student coach Daniel Boyd and student videographer Eric Suttles, all immediately jumped in the river and swam across it to help Miles. Clemson said Boyd and Suttles are military veterans.
Also assisting were graduate assistant athletic trainer Rachel Alterio and student athletic trainer Ana Wright, who helped get Miles out of the car and onto land while they waited for EMS to pick him up after someone dialed 911. Miles played on a summer little league baseball team that Dabo Swinney coached.
When it became apparent what was happening, Swinney blew his whistle to stop the rest of his team from jumping in the water to help save Miles and instead told his players to leave it to the trainers who were medically equipped to deal with such an incident. Swinney, his wife Kathleen and son Will visited Miles in the hospital Tuesday night. According to Miles' cousin, William Qualkinbush, who is the host of 'Out of Bounds' on WCCP 105.5 The Roar, Miles had surgery and has a few fractures, but is OK.
On his Wednesday afternoon show, Qualkinbush got choked up while thanking Clemson for helping Miles, a family member with whom he is extremely close.
"We're like siblings," Qualkinbush said through tears. "I can't say thank you enough to people who would never take credit for any of that. For the managers and trainers who helped him, for the coaches and the support staff and the people who reached out to me and and other people and asked to pray for him - to all of them, I just say thank you."
Qualkinbush also credited Swinney for putting football on hold just hours after he preached to the media earlier in the day how crucial this week was for preparation against Wake Forest.
"This accident became personal very quickly," Swinney said in a statement released by the school. "I have known Clary since he was eight years old. I am just thankful we were out there and could get to him quickly and direct the EMS to where he was. It might have been a while before anyone found him had we not been there."
Miles' mother also released a statement, thanking Clemson for helping save her son.
"I want to tell everyone how grateful we are to everyone associated with the Clemson football program that helped my son. I am especially grateful for those trainers and managers and others who swam to help Clary and get him out of the car. Thomas Austin (graduate assistant coach) rode in the ambulance with him to the hospital and that was so comforting. I am just so glad my son is alive."
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