Former University of Southern California running back Stafon Johnson filed a lawsuit against the school and an assistant conditioning coach for a personal injury. Johnson claims the coach’s negligence caused an accident and that he suffered a crushed throat because of it.
Johnson was bench-pressing 275 pounds in 2009 when the bar dropped or fell onto his neck. Johnson required reconstructive surgery as the bar crushed his throat and larynx.
The assistant conditioning coach Jamie Yanchar was spotting Johnson during his lifting in the USC’s weight room. According to the complaint, Yanchar became distracted and was not paying attention to Johnson’s workout at the time. This was the first time Johnson attempted to bench-press 275 pounds.
Yanchar placed the weight bar into Johnson’s hands and hit the bar with his body before Johnson had a grip on it. The bar knocked off balance and slipped, landing on Johnson’s neck.
In his claim, Johnson alleges he suffered permanent injuries and loss of future earnings due to the accident.
The assistant coach moved on to work for the Seattle Seahawks with the former USC coach Pete Carroll. Johnson played for the Tennessee Titans in the 2010 NFL preseason. A game injury sidelined him indefinitely.
USC issued a statement expressing sympathies for Johnsons’ injury but the university claims it is not at fault, and finds disappointment by Johnson’s decision to proceed with a lawsuit.