A year after devastating spinal injury, Shazier making big strides

A year after devastating spinal injury, Shazier making big strides

Ryan Shazier walks off the field following a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on August 16, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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.

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“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.

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Today is a day to remember. 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. Ive 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 let’s 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

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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.