While the linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers braced for impact against the Cincinnati Bengals, Ryan instantly fell to the turf and put his hand on his back.
According to the New York’s Daily News, x-rays showed that Shazier had undergone a spinal contusion, making him unable to move his legs. Because of this, he was immediately scheduled for a spine stabilization surgery two days after his injury took place. Although the uncertainty of the surgery was alarming, the reality of never walking again was more problematic.
Through a post on Instagram in early February, Shazier released his location at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The 25-year-old athlete had been updating his fans through photos and videos of his miraculous comeback post-surgery, he even posted a video of himself doing pull-ups shortly after his surgery.
Shazier told the NFL a month after surgery in March, “I’m getting a lot better. I feel great. Each day is a hurdle, but each day I assure you it’s getting better.” He also shared some insight into rehab, where he goes four times each week for two hours each day. He concluded by stating, “Each day is a new journey all the time and I’m getting better constantly.”
During the opening night of the NFL Draft, Shazier’s appearance had the audience shocked. Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, even made the effort to mention Shazier as a special appearance when picking the first-round pick for the Steelers. Goodell commented, “Everyone is inspired by him,” as the cameras showed Shazier and his fiancee walking on stage.
Continuing to keep his fans in the know, Shazier posted to Instagram after his appearance at the NFL Draft, saying, “I’m truly humbled and blessed from all the love, support and prayers I’ve gotten.” Thanking his fans he adds, “Thank you for helping to keep me going.” With the aftermath of about 90,000 likes, and thousands of positive comments, it’s safe to conclude Shazier’s injury didn’t slow him down.
While interviewing with NFL, Ryan made it clear that his goal isn’t to just compete with the football league again, but to end up in the Hall of Fame one day. “The aim is to let the Lord bring me back to play at the level I once was” Ryan adds.
With positivity and passion, Shazier states, “Each day is an effort to improve. I aim for the Hall of Fame and the whole time out on the field this year was me doing that. I continue to do that as I’m in rehab. I can feel that it’s still possible,” Shazier mentioned. “With the Lord at my side, I know that I’m going to make a comeback and play football.” Inspiring for everyone, Shazier proves even the best athletes can make a success out of an obstacle.
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