"What I can tell you is that Stafon had an accident in the weight room and a bar came down on his neck. It was at the end of the routine he was doing and unfortunately it hit him wrong," Pete Carroll said. "We rushed him to the hospital to make sure that he's ok."
Johnson was bench-pressing with an assistant strength and conditioning coach spotting him when the bar slipped out of Johnson's right hand and landed on his throat.
Head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle, who was in the weight room at the time of the accident, said he has never witnessed such an accident, "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. We're fortunate he was being spotted."
Carroll added: "I've never seen the guy take the whole thing like that and get hit in the neck."
Several of Johnson's teammates were in the weight room at the time of the accident.
"There was a bunch of guys in the weight room because it was a regular workout, so they jumped to make sure he was ok right off the bat," Carroll said. "One of our strength coaches was right there with him, doing the drill with him. He was cared for immediately. It was scary."
Carroll said that Johnson was unable to speak when he was taken to the hospital and was still in surgery when the Trojans took the field for their afternoon practice.
"They are working on him now and, when we went to practice, he was in surgery to make sure he's ok and to check everything out. But it is serious and he did get hurt but we don't know exactly what it is and we're not going to know until they go through the surgery."
While Carroll classified the injury as serious he said it wasn't life threatening.
As expected, Johnson's teammates were shaken up by the news.
"This is a guy that has been an integral part of our program for years, and everybody loves Stafon, and takes it personally. When you are as connected as we are we feel every bit of this. Everybody feels it, that's how close we are," Carroll said. "We all feel a bit damaged today and injured. That's just a part of how connected we are through all this work and dedication to the team. It's a bad deal and I feel horrible for him."
The senior tailback from Compton has rushed for 157 yards on 32 carries in 2009 and is the team leader with 5 touchdowns.
Stafon Johnson underwent surgery on Monday. (Paul Pinner Photo)
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