As if the injury bug hasn’t done enough damage to the Trojan football program, starting with fall camp and spreading its way through the first month of the season. Now the infection has now become a major epidemic.
On Saturday night, playing a struggling Washington State team that has been undergoing major transitions the past two years, the Trojans lost two key players for the season.
Defensive end Hebron Fangupo, a junior college transfer, broke his leg and required surgery. And defensive back Marshall cracked a vertebra in his neck. Both players are recovering in the hospital.
"These are devastating injuries for those two guys and we're going to miss them this season," head coach Pete Carroll lamented.
But wait! Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, the other shoe dropped...literally.
Tailback Stafon Johnson, while bench-pressing this morning, suffered a throat injury 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.
Even though an assistant strength and conditioning coach was spotting for Johnson, the bar fell in such a way that it has to be considered a freak accident.
The bench press is commonly regarded as one of the safest exercises in the weight room, especially with a spotter, according to head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle.
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."
Commenting on the freak off-the-field incident, Coach Carroll said, "It was an unfortunate accident and Stafon is getting great care right now. 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."
I’m sure the thoughts of all Trojan fans are with Stafon, and hopefully he will recover quickly and be able to resume his football career at the next level.