Here’s the first photo I’ve seen of Stafon Johnson as he makes his recovery from a serious weightlifting accident.
(The barbell on Stafon’s shirt? Noted.)
David Wharton of the L.A. TIMES updates:
Johnson is up and moving around and no longer requires a feeding tube, Carroll said. However, he is limited to a liquid diet and has not spoken.
“They don’t even let him make a peep right now,” the coach said.
“They were beside themselves with the wonderful results they got, to see how everything they worked on is looking great at this point,” Coach Pete Carroll said. “His throat really is responding well, enough that the doctor couldn’t wait to get out here and talk about it.”
Sounds great, eh?
Now for a stiff dose of reality from the two surgeons who operated on Johnson. An itemized assessment of the injury and recovery - after the jump:
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.
Harrowing stuff. Never ceases to amaze the miracles of medical science.
You’re looking for those little semantic signs from the doctors’ prognosis, and “great strides” I would guess is about as much as you can hope for at this moment.
Johnson does look great in the photo and he’s now Tweeting more. Not many folks have the support system he has, which should speed his recovery.
If you’re going to have something as horrible as this happen, can’t think of a better place for Johnson to be.