One year after the scariest day of his life, Ryan Shazier is a beacon of positivity.
The Steelers star suffered a severe spinal injury while making a tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 4, 2017, shocking Paul Brown Stadium into silence as he was strapped to a backboard and carted off the field.
Doctors feared the Pro Bowl linebacker who terrorized offenses across the NFL would never walk again.
“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,” Shazier wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday.
Since that fateful day, the defensive player known for his speed and versatility has attacked his rehabilitation like a running back coming out of the backfield, documenting his recovery on social media and in social appearances, all marked with the ubiquitous hashtag “#SHALIEVE.”
The son of a pastor, Shazier thanked God and many others in Tuesday’s post.
“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 day before,” he wrote.
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Among those appreciated were his family and friends, teammates and the Steelers organization, and the doctors and staff at UPMC who were part of his treatment and rehabilitation.
“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,” he wrote.
Shazier was ruled out from playing this season before it began, but he says his goal remains to get back on the football field. And who can tell him he's wrong?
After all, Shazier jogged last week for the first time since doctors told him there was a less than 20 percent chance he'd walk again, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
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