Ryan Shazier has not given up on his dream of returning to the football field after sustaining a spinal injury in 2017. Shazier may not be able to play yet, but the linebacker is traveling with the team doing his part to encourage his teammates. Prior to the Steelers Thursday night matchup with the Panthers, Shazier posted the following message on Instagram.
“GameDay in The Burgh!! I can’t wait to watch my brothers eat !!” Shazier posted.
Last month, the Steelers went to Cincinnati to play in the same stadium where Shazier sustained the injury. Shazier used what many would consider a difficult moment to provide inspiration. Shazier went back to the hospital where he was treated to thank the medical staff for their help in his recovery. Shazier posted a photo with some of the staff from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
“It’s been a long journey, but this is still a ways to go. But it all started here in Cincinnati. Today was an amazing day I was so thankful to be able to tell everyone thank you. #Shalieve,” Shazier posted.
Ryan Shazier Wants to Play Football Again
The Steelers were able to get the victory, and Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin admitted the team was thinking about Shazier during game week.
“We’ll kind of know that when we get there,” Tomlin said per SB Nation. I’m sure there will be in some form or fashion. That wasn’t about football. That was somebody we care deeply about that got injured very severely. It wasn’t about utilizing it as some motivational tactic or anything of that nature. It was a very difficult thing to get through. We had a job to do in terms of winning the game, but obviously our hearts and minds were with [Ryan].”
Over the offseason, Shazier provided an update on his status and reaffirmed his commitment to playing football again.
“My dream is to come back and play football again,” Shazier explained per USA Today. “I have been working my tail off every single day. I have that in the back of my mind during rehab, and I’m trying to stay positive every single day.”
Shazier still has a ways to go before reaching that goal, but he has already made a lot of progress. The video below shows Shazier walking on his own.
While Shazier has not returned to the field, he is doing his part to contribute by being around the team. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger noted the Steelers can see Shazier’s progress.
“Obviously, he’s not where he wants to be and playing football again, but just the fact he’s able to walk and to see him walk off the field and to walk with him, it was special,” Roethlisberger told ESPN. “This is a place we’ll always remember. Not just for football but for life.”