USC Star Recovering After Surgery on Crushed Throat

Tailback suffered mishap in weight room
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2009 4:23 PM CDT
FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2009, file photo, Southern California running back Stafon Johnson (13) runs into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown against Ohio State during an NCAA college football...   (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)
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(Newser) – USC tailback Stafon Johnson is in critical but stable condition and communicating nonverbally after surgery to repair a horrific weightlifting injury. Teammates say Johnson was bench-pressing yesterday and accidentally dropped the bar on his throat. After 7-plus hours of surgery, during which doctors realigned Johnson’s larynx, the athlete is expected to make a full recovery. The senior will probably not play again this season.

“Everybody loves Stafon and takes it personally. This is a guy that has been an integral part of our program for years,” USC coach Pete Carroll told the Los Angeles Times. "It's kind of disbelief that something could happen like that." Other players echoed the coach: "You don't expect that to happen," a teammate said, "but it just happened."