On Monday former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier announced the launch of a new nonprofit, one which has a decidedly ambitious goal. The Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation aims to “change how people view spinal injuries,” said Shazier in a statement posted to his Twitter account.
Along the way, Shazier envisions providing support for spinal cord injury (SCI) patients and their families, including the kind of resources he received while rehabilitating from the SCI he suffered during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. On that fateful December 2017 night, Shazier suffered a spinal cord contusion that left him paralyzed from the waist down, but with the help of intensive rehabilitation Shazier is now able to walk again.
“My injury has helped me see firsthand what the SCI community goes through every day and the inequities people face when it comes to getting the care they need,” Shazier said in a news release via Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “I want to be there for people who are going through similar struggles, including their caregivers and families.”
Ryan Shazier: “I Had the Whole City of Pittsburgh Supporting Me”
That’s because he is well aware of how valuable emotional support can be. In early September, Shazier told Heavy.com that after he was paralyzed, his family came up from Texas and his wife’s family came up from Florida. “I also had the whole city of Pittsburgh, the NFL, and so many others supporting me with prayers,” he said.
At the time, Shazier was still trying to formulate his future plans, and shortly afterwards he announced his retirement from football, though going forward he hopes to be able to return to practices to serve as an on-field mentor for young Steelers linebackers like Devin Bush.
Meanwhile, his former coaches and teammates are looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish via his new foundation, with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin saying he “can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Zach Banner’s B3 Foundation Offers its First Scholarship
The scholarship, named The Future Community Leaders Scholarship, is aimed at students who are committed to becoming a force for change in their chosen field. The winners will receive $10,000 annually for four years (for college tuition and expenses), and they will also be paired with a mentor.
The fund is named in honor of Banner’s parents, Ron & Vanessa.
“Creating a scholarship has been a dream of mine for a long time,” said Banner via Steelers.com. “Access to education is the cornerstone value in my family and I’m so excited to continue the legacy that my parents started. Our foundation is all about creating and empowering student leaders. This next generation is already leading our country on so many fronts and we are thrilled to support these students in their endeavors.”
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