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USC football: Surgeons update Stafon Johnson's condition

October 9, 2009 |  3:29 pm

Johnson Several USC players visited tailback Stafon Johnson at the hospital today after the Trojans completed their final bye-week practice.

The surgeons who operated on Johnson after a weightlifting accident on Sept. 28 issued a statement today about his injuries and recovery.

Drs. Jason S. Hamilton and Ryan F. Osborne of the Osborne Head and Neck Institute said:

Stafon suffered a complex injury involving more than 70% of his larynx. Put simply, the voice box was crushed and the upper portion was separated from the lower portion. The majority of the lining of his larynx (voice box) was degloved (stripped off), exposing critical structures for breathing and speech. In addition to microsurgical reconstruction and the repair of laryngeal fractures, he required placement of a feeding tube from his nose to his stomach, and a tracheostomy tube to help him breathe.

He recently underwent an operative evaluation of his larynx, which showed continued progress in a positive direction. Due to the continued need for tube feedings, the nasogastric tube will be replaced with a gastrostomy tube. The gastrostomy tube will be far more comfortable for Stafon and allow him to maintain the nutritional balance needed during his recovery.

We expect Stafon to be discharged from the hospital in a few days. He will require multiple minor laryngeal procedures in the near future which will be managed on an outpatient basis. Though it remains far too early to make any predictions regarding the long term function of his larynx, he has shown great strides in his initial recovery. He has an amazing attitude and a will to overcome all obstacles presented during this difficult time.

-- Gary Klein

Photo: Stafon Johnson. Credit: Amy Sancetta / Associated Press