Shazier ‘Dreaming’ About Playing Again

Steelers LB updates his recovery

Josh Rowntree
June 06, 2018 - 2:17 pm
Steelers LB Ryan Shazier updates his health status

Josh Rowntree

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier addressed the Pittsburgh media en masse Wednesday for the first time since his December 4 spinal injury that left him with no feeling in his lower extremities. 

With the assistance of a cane, Shazier walked to and stood at a podium at the Steelers UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. He spoke for over 20 minutes.

“My dream is to come back and play football again,” he said. "I’ve been working my tail off every single day. So, I have that in the back and my mind every single time I go to rehab and I just try to stay positive every single day.”

Shazier was hurt when delivering a tackle with the crown of his helmet to Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone. He was carted off the field after visibly being unable to move his legs. 

“I’m not going to lie, the moment I got hurt, it might have been a little scary,” Shazier said. “But, I just trusted in the Lord and asked him to look over my life.”

Shazier took time to thank a variety of people, including the Steelers organization, his teammates, doctors, friends, family, fans and other athletes who have reached out. 

“I had an elementary school, literally the whole elementary school, every single kid wrote me a ‘get well soon’ letter,” he said. "That’s over 500 kids. All that feeds in making me want to do better."

Considerable steps have been made in his recovery, but he added that his next goal is to walk with no assistance from a cane or holding someone’s hand.

"It’s been a long process,” he said. "It’s been a challenge, but I’m really just pushing it every single day. I’m constantly just getting better and I’m feeling so much better from the moment I got here until now.”

While no timetable has been given for his return to the football field or even fully functional walking, Shazier has gotten positive news.

“I’m not a doctor, but they’re just telling me to take it one day at a time,” he said. "The further we get along in rehab the better they can give me answers. They feel like I’m doing a lot better than they expected.”

During his recovery, Shazier has elected to stay in Pittsburgh, helping his teammates prepare for a season he will not be able to play in. 

"I always feel like you can make yourself better and make the team better by giving everybody all that you have,” he added. "That’s what I try to do for those guys. They ask me any questions and I’m open to helping them.”

While saying he doesn’t fear being injured again if and when he returns to football, Shazier did admit to having to tweak his aggressive style of play.

“I just probably have to play a little safer,” he said. "I’ve just got to put my head up or something. Other than that, I’m honestly fine with whatever outcome comes from it. I’m just trusting the Lord and, if he gives me the opportunity to play again, I’m going to give it everything I have.”

“I’ve played this game since I was four years old. I’ve loved the game since I was four years old. Just because I got hurt doesn’t mean I’m going to stop loving the game of football.”

Shazier talked at length about the support from his family, including his son, who is just three years old. 

“I know that he understands that daddy is hurt. He constantly wants to see me get better. Sometimes, when I was in a wheelchair, he would try to push me in my wheelchair or if I drop a cane, he’d help me pick my cane up. But, it’s kind of cool because you understand that he sees that I’m getting better because sometimes he’ll be like ‘come on, daddy, walk.’”

Shazier’s road ahead is a long one. While his short term goal is to walk again, his effort is ultimately to return to the football field.

“I know it’s going to be a long journey, but I’m just constantly working my tail off, constantly trying to get better and trusting the Lord and continuing to believe and ‘Shalieve’ in myself.”

Hear all of what Shazier had to say below.

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