Ryan Shazier was injured during a Monday Night Football game against the Bengals in Week 13. Cincinnati’s first possession of the game, Shazier went to the ground clutching his back after making a routine tackle on Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone. Everything about the play seemed normal until Shazier didn’t get up. In December of 2017 Shazier underwent a successful spinal stabilization surgery. Not even 2 weeks removed from the injury and surgery, Shazier made his first public appearance at the week 15 Steelers game against the Patriots. He waved the Steeler’s Terrible Towel to pump up the crowd, it was an awesome moment for all in attendance and watching at him in great spirits. Jan 10th was the first photo that confirmed Shazier was in a wheelchair. His family and the team have kept details about Shazier’s condition close to the vest to protect his privacy as he recovers. Shazier was discharged from impatient rehab on Jan 14th and began the transition to an outpatient program to continue his recovery.
On Feb. 20, Ryan Shazier spoke for the first time about his injury when he was a guest on his teammate Roosevelt Nix’s podcast. Shazier said that he’s making progress every day and that he plans to play football again one day. During a phone interview held by NFL Network Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock. Shazier had this to say “My end goal is to allow the Lord to let me come back and play at the high level that I was before,” Shazier said. “Every day I try to get better. I strive for the Hall of Fame and I was doing that through this year, the whole time I was playing. And I still do that while I’m doing rehab. I know it’s still a possibility. I have the Lord and he has my back and I constantly feel I’m going to come back and play football.”
April 14th at his Alma mater Ohio State. Shazier was an honorary captain at Ohio State’s spring game. He used a wheelchair to get to the Buckeyes locker room, where he stood up to address the team before the scrimmage. Shazier also stood up to wave to the crowd at Ohio Stadium. On the night of the 2018 NFL Draft Shazier made a surprise appearance at the NFL Draft, when he walked for the first time in public since his injury. His fiancee, Michelle, walked with Shazier to help him to the podium, in my opinion it was the best thing that happened all night. He risked further injury to himself but, that wasn’t his concern at all. Shazier wanted to inspire the world and all of those future NFL star with his awesome presence and energy. It was report today that the Steelers have converted $8.26M of LB Ryan Shazier’s 2018 base salary into a signing bonus, per source. This means that money is available to him as of today. This comes as no surprise, the Steelers has always been a first class organization. Shazier’s never quit on himself, he never gave up on himself, and now he’s a walking again. I don’t know if he’ll play football again but, if there’s anybody who could come back from this I’d bet on him. Shazier is a living testament that anything is possible and there’s nothing we can’t overcome.