Ryan Shazier on the anniversary of his injury: “Today is and was a day of joy”

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It was exactly one year ago when Ryan Shazier was taken off the field at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati unable to move his lower extremities after a hit on Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone.

Shazier sustained a spinal contusion in the impact and spent two days in the hospital in Cincinnati before returning to Pittsburgh to continue his recovery process. Shazier has made significant process ever since. According to the Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he was able to jog at practice with linebackers coach Joey Porter for the first time last week.

Shazier made a lengthy post on his instagram page Tuesday reflecting on the year since his injury and the lasting impacts the sudden change to his life has yielded in the time since.

“Today is a day to remember,” he wrote. “Just a year ago my life changed forever. It was a scary moment for many people. I’m not going to lie, I was one of them. I’ve learned this was an amazing opportunity for the Lord to show how great He is. It’s been a crazy, long journey, but it is not over yet. The best worst part about this journey that I’m on is the unknown. Day by day it’s getting better than the the day before.

“Today is and was a day of joy. I want to thank all of the amazing people that have been a part of this process with me, starting with the one and only Michelle. And lets talk about my ride or die boy.. my number one man..my son RJ knows how to keep a smile on my face. My parents and siblings have been there through the thick and thin. There was more than a million tears cried over this year, but now they are all of joy. Love you guys. My friends and teammates, man y’all don’t understand just the little things you’ve done that have pulled me from darkness to the light. To the Steelers-there’s no better organization. Thank you for being family to me.

“The UPMC trainers and staff for getting me back on my feet. Steelers and Buckeye Nation-your prayers and love honestly keep me going. And to the fans everywhere, I feel your support honestly everyday. CAA-thank you guys constantly for giving me amazing advice and being the best agency in the world. And Iast, but not least, I have to give Jerome Howard and Mike Micca an extra thank you for dealing with my foolishness, excuses, pain, and joy everyday. These two are with me working everyday and I cant say thank you enough to these guys. Love you all thank you so much. #SHALIEVE”

The progress Shazier has made in a year is remarkable. He’s still not within sight of his stated goal of wanting to return to his playing career. Whether he’ll ever be able to reach that plateau remains unclear. But when Shazier was reaching for his injured back, unable to move his legs on the turf on a Monday night in Cincinnati, whether he’d be doing what he’s doing now appeared to be in serious doubt. He has every reason to feel joyful about the hurdles he’s cleared 365 days later.

9 responses to “Ryan Shazier on the anniversary of his injury: “Today is and was a day of joy”

  1. I hope his joy is not dependent on getting back on the field. I loved his play. Now I am inspired about his spirit.

  2. Why does no one ever point out that his injury was the direct result of his own actions, launching himself like a missle, head first, into his opponent? I have great sympathy for him, but have never lost sight of exactly how he injured himself in what today would be 15 yd penalty and cause for ejection for intent to injure his opponent. I argued this point via text with friends who were conversing during the game. I argue that Mike Tomlin teaches and encourages these tactics…

  3. People in Pittsburgh are probably more wary about kids/grandkids playing football after watching all this stuff with Ryan unfold and we see him all the time on news and game broadcasts and he still looks very frail and weak to us.

    I was skeptical about my own 8-year old grandson playing and it was his parents call. I will say the discipline, hard work, teamwork and commitment required by him has already made him more responsible in what he does from getting his homework done before practice and even what he eats. He had some focus issues early and he was put on the bench for that. But next time, he was laser focused.

    So I can definitely see the benefit of this even tho we worry about him.

    Ryan’s story will continue to play out. No one I know realistically thinks…or even wants him to play again but we hope the Steelers keeps in the organization as a scout or coach. We love the guy.

  4. I’m glad he’s recovering well. But can we give up on creating the illusion that he could ever play again? It’s a feel good message of hope but completely unrealistic.

  5. Willpower, hard work and determination can do amazing things. If he does ever play again he won’t be the same, he learned the hard way not to use his head as a battering ram. Good luck to him.

  6. Ryan has now started jogging. That in itself is wonderful news.
    I like seeing these updates about his recovery and wish him
    all the best. He is an inspiration to many.

  7. You never want to see any person have to deal with something like this.
    Ryan has kept a great attitude and persevered in the face of paralysis.
    Keep up your recovery. Hope you and your family have a long and healthy life.

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