Stafon Johnson formally of the University of Southern California football Trojans has filed a lawsuit against the USC for negligence on behalf of former strength Coach Jaime Yanchar who is now with Pete Carroll in Seattle with the Seahawks.
Papers filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court Monday, three years after the weightlifting incident that almost ended Stafon’s life and football career.
Stafon Johnson was injured while going through mandatory team weightlifting workouts around 11 a.m. on September 28, 2009, two days after USC beat the Washington State Cougars 27 - 6 at home with Johnson rushing five times for 16 yards and a touchdown. Initial reports from the incident implied that Johnson's hands slipped and lost control of a bar while bench-pressing 275 pounds. With his hand slipping off the bar caused it to drop and land on his neck and throat severely damaging his vocal cords, adams apple, and tore numerous muscles. Johnson underwent several surgeries and some serious therapy for his injuries stemming from the accident. The story now is That while Johnson was lifting the bar coach Yanchar knocked the bar out of his hand causing it to fall on his neck.
The press conference was held today with Johnson and his mother Kim Mallory showing up with a Beverly Hills attorney named Carl Douglas. The three sat while Johnson read off a prepared statement with his mother and lawyer fielding the questions. In a news report on television earlier today, Johnson and his lawyer said they tried to take care of this outside of court but did not like the way the University was handling it, so they had no other option but to file the lawsuit.
Johnson and his lawyer is seeking unspecified damages for medical related expenses. He is also wanting pain and suffering along with the lose of future earnings exceeding $25,000. The incident did dropped his draft stock do to him missing games after the incident, and teams being leery of his health after the whole issue had passed over. The Tennessee Titans still took his as an undrafted free agent on April 30, 2010, but was later on placed on IR after suffering a ankle injury in the second half of the preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks.
USC said in a statement released this afternoon, "USC firmly believes it was not at fault in Stafon Johnson's unfortunate weightlifting accident. We are sorry that Stafon was injured. USC and the entire Trojan Family have been exceptionally supportive of Stafon from the minute the accident occurred. We are disappointed to learn that Stafon has decided to file a lawsuit against USC."
Johnson closed with this statement "This lawsuit does not in any way reduce my love for the cardinal and gold. I was injured, and I feel that if others had been careful, this injury would have been avoided."