Scary Injury for USC Football Player

Senior running back drops weight onto neck during bench press, is rushed to hospital.

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University of Southern California football player Stafon Johnson had a scary moment last night. While working out at Heritage Hall on campus, Johnson lost his grip on the weight bar of his bench press. The bar landed on his neck, crushing the 5-foot-11, 210-pound senior's neck and larynx.

Johnson underwent surgery on his throat yesterday, the Daily Trojan reports. reported this morning that Johnson is in critical but stable condition after surgery. Doctors realigned Johnson's vocal cords. Although the injury threatened the 21-year-old's airway and will force him to miss the 2009 season, ESPN reports that Johnson is expected to make a full recovery.

"This is a guy who's been an integral part of our program for years," USC Football Coach Pete Carroll told the Los Angeles Times. "Everybody loves Stafon. When you're as connected as we are, we feel every bit of this. We all feel a bit damaged today and injured. It's a bad deal."

USC Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Carlisle told reporters that if an assistant coach had not been spotting Johnson, the situation could have been much worse.

"I've seen players have the bar slip and fall onto their chest, but never in my 25 years of coaching have I heard of someone dropping a bar on their throat," Carlisle said. "We're fortunate he was being spotted."

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