Stafon Johnson USC Running Back Crushes Neck & Larynx

Stafon Johnson, USC’s top football rusher, was injured in a bench-pressing accident Monday when a bar slipped from his  grasp. Last night his condition was considered critical after emergency surgery, but today his doctor’s say he is expected to make a full recovery due to his physical conditioning and musculature around his neck.

Dr. Gudata Hinika, trauma director at California Hospital Medical Center, said at a news conference today that “Had that been any one of us, meaning me, I would not have survived,” Hinika said. “His neck was so solid and so muscular, that actually helped maintain his airway.”

Hinika said Johnson first had an emergency tracheotomy to help him breath. Surgeons then began reconstructive procedures.

“These are the type of injuries, usually it happens in the old days when people did not wear a seat belt,” Hinika said. “You get in an accident and you’re thrown through a windshield.”

Stafon Johnson is able to communicate in writing to his mother and teammates,

USC Coach Pete Carroll said Johnson’s teammates were still in shock.

“It’s kind of disbelief that something could happen like that,” he said. “We’ll be dealing with this all week and past that.”

Johnson is expected to make a full recovery. Hinika said Johnson could not play again this season, but he added that Johnson’s football playing days were not over.

“We definitely are working very hard to get him better, for him and for the rest of his fans,” Hinika said. “So we expect him to be on the football field at some time.”