Why the Internet is awesome, version 5,409: When something like this happens to Stefan Johnson, there is of course an ear, nose and throat doctor among the concerned USC fans, and he (or she) never fails to show up and explain the situation. Whether a lawyer, doctor, or math student at MIT, there is no shortage of specialized knowledge on the sports webs. This is how it always works.
Conquest Chronicles found this post on WeAreSC from just such a doctor, and provided his analysis is credible (it is full of big medical terms, so I’m going to go ahead and trust it) things do not sound good for Stefan Johnson:
I’m board certified in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and also in Facial Plastic Surgery. I’ve seen dozens of these type of injuries over the years. First of all, we should be grateful he is alive and that apparently there are no neurologic problems (stroke, spinal cord injury). He faces potentially a very long road ahead. Bleeding indicates a break in the laryngeal or tracheal mucosa, and generally this is due to fracture of the cartilages. In young people, the cartilage isn’t calcified and it gives quite alot. But it can break. Emergent surgery of this nature is usually due to one of two things- impending airway compromise (due to an expanding hematoma- collection of blood, collapse of airway, or even laryngeal nerve injury, or laryngeal-tracheal separation). In that case they will do a tracheostomy, probably with the patient 100% awake (these are not fun for the surgeon or the patient- I did three last month).