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UPDATE: Johnson recovering well after lengthy surgery

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Just a day after a tragic throat injury while weightlifting, Stafon Johnson is recovering well and his prognosis appears very good, trauma director Gudata Hinika said during a press conference at California Hospital this morning.

Johnson rested well on Monday night and is already communicating nonverbally with his family and friends. Hinika expects Johnson to make a full recovery and eventually return to playing football, though he did not give a timeframe.

The senior from Compton is expected to remain in intensive care at California Hospital for about a week, Hinika said.

For seven hours on Monday afternoon and evening, doctors performed a "very successful surgery" to repair Johnson's airway and reconstruct his voice box. Hinika said the anatomy of the structure around Johnson's vocal cord was "destroyed, fractured and displaced" after the freak weightlifting accident on Monday morning at USC. Hinika said Johnson was not able to breathe on his own when he arrived at the hospital, and he underwent the emergency operation right away.

Johnson now has a temporary tracheotomy and feeding tube.

"He's doing as well as expected," Hinika said.

Though he is writing and using hand signals already, doctors do not know when Johnson will be able to verbally communicate.

"We'll have to wait and see," Hinika said.

Hinika called the injury "very, very rare," but said his athletic background aided him.

"If anyone is not athletic like Stafon, maybe they don't survive," Hinika said. "His neck is so solid and muscular and [he has] the discipline of being an athlete. He was able to stay calm and took instruction very well. He's a brilliant guy who understood his situation and handled it well.

"Being physically fit certainly helped."

Along with the positive prognosis, Johnson also has an uplifting attitude considering the circumstances, Hinika said.

"His spirit was very good from the time he came in," Hinika said.

20 Comments

Fight On, Stafon ! The Trojan Family has you in their thoughts and prayers !

Fight On Stafon!!! Wishing you a speedy and successful recovery!

Fight On! Stafon. You will return and win the Heisman!

May a gracious God watch over you during your recovery. Our prayers go out, along with all of the Trojan Family, to you, your family and friends.

Fight on Stafon! Your fans here in West Virginia are pulling for you.

Fight On Stafon!!!! Stay strong and give thanks for being alive. We all support you.

You and your family is in my prayers. Fight On!

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and your family Stafon. Phillipians 4:6-7

This sounds like a very serious injury. With the support of the medical staff, his family, and the Trojan family, I wish Stafon a speedy recovery.

To Coach Carroll, you have always been an advocate for the positive influence and development of our youth. Would you please support banning the bench press for our athletes? There are so many other upper body strengthening exercises that also incorporate the core muscles. I can't think of any functional gain from lying flat on your back and pushing something or somebody off your chest. Bench press accidents although rare can cause very serious injuries including death. Please think about it. Campaign to BAN THE BENCH PRESS.

Ron:

This type of injury is very very rare with the bench press. The reason why it doesn't happen is that there is always suppose to be a spotter for the athlete.

Although this was the case for Stafon, clearly it was a freak accident. There is no need to ban the bench press.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you Stafon!

Get well soon Stafon. Fight ON 13!

Justin: Yes it was a freak accident but accidents do happen. The severity of injuries sustained during bench pressing is such a big risk and the benefits from doing the bench press are so little. So Justin, if you have a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree also, please educate me on how the bench press carries over onto anything players do on the field.

Stafon,

All of the Trojans are pulling for a full recovery. You mean a lot to the team and to the University and will be missed on the field. We are all glad that you are doing better, but truly hope that the rehab is quick and that you are back to being yourself sooner rather than later.

Fight On Stafon!

Get Well Soon Stafon. Prayers from New Orleans

From Buckeye country, we send our thoughts and prayers to Stafon, his family and his teammates. Here's to seeing him on the field when OSU takes on USC for the rematch in the Rose Bowl.

We're praying for you! Wishing you a speedy recovery - just focus on getting well.

The Trojan Family is with you and your family, Stafon. Be strong. Fight On #13!

GET WELL SOON STAFON, OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY...FIGHT ON TROJAN WARRIOR

Will is the bomb. Such a talented actor. Hopefully he never raps again, though! haha.

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