Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier walked to the podium with a cane. But he was walking, and able to say that he wanted to return to the field after last year’s devastating spinal injury.
Via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Shazier held his first press conference today since the injury which left him temporarily paralyzed and required spinal stabilization surgery.
“My aim is to come back and play football again,” Shazier said, which is stunning on a number of levels.
He has remained around the team and serves as a coach/mentor/inspiration, and said the support of teammates and being in the environment help him with his daily challenges. He said his next hurdle is to walk without a cane.
“It’s been a long process, a challenge,” he said. “I know it’s going to be a long journey. . . .
“Every day I’m getting so much better.”
Shazier admitted the moment against the Bengals, when he fell to the turf after lowering his head into a tackle, was a frightening one for him. And though he won’t play this year, his motivation remains to return to the game.