Johnson, a senior from Compton, was bench-pressing with a spotter in Heritage Hall's weight room when the bar slipped out of his right hand and fell at an angle onto his throat. USC's athletic trainers and emergency personnel rushed to the scene, and Johnson was taken to a local hospital, where he's currently undergoing surgery on his throat.
"It was an unfortunate accident and Stafon is getting great care right now," Coach Pete Carroll said. "We don't have a lot of information at this point and we'll keep everyone updated, but our thoughts and prayers are with Stafon."
Head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle, who was within 10 feet of the incident, said he was shocked something like this could happen.
"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."
The bench press is commonly regarded as one of the safest exercises in the weight room, especially with a spotter, Carlisle said. An assistant strength and conditioning coach was spotting Johnson this morning.
Johnson's recovery time from surgery is unknown at this time.
We will provide more details as we receive them.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Stafon, his family, teammates and coaches.