From College News - Running back Stafon Johnson in critical but stable condition after weightlifting bar slipped, fell directly onto his throat.
In an unexpected, scary turn of event, University of Southern California running back Stafon Johnson’s life was put in peril by a small sleight of hand. Johnson was weightlifting as usual Monday when the bar slipped from his grasp and fell directly onto his throat. Johnson was taken off the Trojans’ campus wearing a neck brace and woke up Tuesday at the California Hospital Medical Center.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Johnson was performing a bench press lift at the time of his accident.
Johnson had to undergo an emergency tracheotomy to repair the damage done to his throat, along with reconstructive surgery. News outlets reported that, according to Dr. Gudata Hinika, the trauma medical director at the hospital, Johnson was communicating via waving and writing after his seven-hour surgery. The USC running back is currently in critical but stable condition.
“He’s not talking, but he was doing his wave and writing,” USC coach Pete Carroll said, according to ESPN. “It’s very uplifting for his mom and his family and all the guys who got a chance to go down there.”
Hinika said that a person with a smaller neck would have most likely died, but Johnson’s neck is larger than the average person. For USC head strength and conditioning Coach Chris Carlisle, he had never seen anything like what happened to Johnson.
ESPN reported that Johnson’s condition after the accident was unknown by the USC coaching staff, his teammates and his mother, who was actually working at the hospital he was transferred to. According to the Los Angeles Times, Johnson was communicating non-verbally with family, teammates and his coaches on Tuesday.
Johnson is not expected to play again this season, but doctors have said that Johnson should play one day again. Johnson is currently the USC’s second-leading rusher, and leads the team in touchdowns with five.
By Nick Mordowanec