Ryan Shazier
Ryan Shazier (Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images North America)

After suffering what was probably the scariest injury of the 2017 season, Ryan Shazier has shown encouraging signs towards making a full recovery.

I’ve had a lot of 1st downs at UPMC, but you know being the defensive guy I am, my mind is on 3 and out. With that being said, I want everyone to know that I’m moving on to the next step of the process. Today’s a big day for me as I’m officially being released from the hospital. I want to take a moment to thank the people who have helped me the past two months. First and foremost, I want to thank God because at the end of the day I don’t think I’d be making progress without His vision and hands protecting me and my family. I will continue to trust in Him and thank Him, because it all starts with Him. To my family: you’ve been my rock. Words can’t express how thankful I am for you Michelle, RJ, Mom, Dad, and VJ for always being there for me. You’re my everything. To Jerome: my trainer and best friend. Thank you for being there from day 1 and every day after continuing to push me to be better every day. I’d like to thank Dr. Okonkwo, Dr. Harrington, Dr. Maroon, and Dr. Schroeder for their amazing work on my procedure and continuous care. I can’t appropriately express how grateful I am for how quickly you’ve helped me bounce back. I want to thank the medical staff at UPMC for their amazing care, support and therapy they have given me- especially Joe, Nikki, Karolina and Dani. I know the staff will continue to help me find a way to keep on pushing as we continue therapy. The support from my teammates has been truly amazing. From former players to current players and their families- they have helped me and my family day to day with visits and gifts. We can’t thank you enough. I want to thank Mr. Rooney, Coach T, Mr. Colbert, and the entire Steelers organization for the unwavering support they’ve given me. I knew they were an amazing organization, but more than ever they’re family to me. Lastly, I want to thank Jimmy, Candice, and the CAA Sports staff for being here when I need them most. I don’t know if I’d be where I’m at or making the progress I’m making without you guys. I want everyone to know that all of the support and prayers are absolutely being answered. I will continue to work hard and push and find a way back. #Shalieve #Steelers #prayfor50

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The play that left Shazier without the ability to move his lower body until recently started out pretty normal, but the awkward nature in which Shazier’s neck and body bent when he attempted a tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football on December 4th. But as soon as Shazier hit the ground, it was immediately apparent something was wrong, as the linebacker clutched his lower back and did not get up.

While obviously a huge step in his recovery, Ryan Shazier isn’t walking totally on his own yet. Still aided with a walker, he’s steadily increased his rehab workouts since the injury.

Returning to the football field is rightfully the furthest thing from Shazier’s mind, if not out of the question altogether. However, the Pittsburgh Steelers have made it known they’d like to find a role for him within the organization. Steelers owner Art Rooney II said recently, “I expect Ryan is going to be here one way or the other and have a role on the team one way or other in 2018.” One would have to think Shazier’s presence in any compacity would be positive and inspiring to the team going forward. For now, Shazier is literally taking life one step at a time.

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