Michigan's Drake Johnson grateful after forklift mishap

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News


Drake Johnson

Ann Arbor – Maybe if you sit back and think about this, it might actually seem Michigan running back Drake Johnson is charmed.

Johnson, entering his final season and competing for the starting job, has endured torn anterior cruciate ligament knee injuries during his career, and more recently, last spring, was run over by a forklift in the track building while he was stretching.

The man clearly has had a run of bad luck, more than most, but he has been practicing full-go in camp and feels more blessed than cursed.

Johnson, who spoke with reporters after practice Wednesday night, has gradually opened up about the forklift incident that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh in April said “could have killed a lesser man.”

The doctor did say, he was like, ‘You know you could have died,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I probably could have died’” Johnson said. “But I didn’t so. Maybe it would have killed a lesser man, but like I say, (it could) just be incredible luck all the same."

Johnson, a state high school champion hurdler, joined the track team this past season at the urging of Harbaugh. According to the U-M police report the driver of a forklift thought he had run over a starting block when, in fact, he had run over Johnson.

He was asked Wednesday what it felt like to be run over.

“In all sincerity, it’s like you tweak for a sec, you know, ‘Whoa, like this is happening right now,’ and then you have so much adrenaline going through you, you’re like, ‘OK, this sucks. This is going to be bad,’” Johnson said.

“And then it’s over and you’re like, ‘Oh.’ And at first you don’t feel anything because you have so much adrenaline and then it hits and then you’re like, ‘Ahhhh,’ and that’s what happened. It kind of hit me about three seconds later, and I just freaked out.”

Johnson has always had a free-spirit approach to most things and is not dwelling on the incident.

“It was just an unfortunate incident that happened,” Johnson said. “I’m glad I’m on the other side of it. Blessed to be healthy at this point and not anything worse.