Ryan Shazier's future in football remains unclear after suffering a devastating back injury in December. But that hasn't stopped Shazier, who is finally walking again with assistance, from continuing to help the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On Friday, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler posted a statement from Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert in which he explains how Shazier has remained involved with the team. Colbert revealed that Shazier goes to the team facility "on a daily basis," learns "personnel stuff," and uplifts the team with his attitude.
Here's the entire statement via Fowler:
It's been great for both of us. Ryan works extremely hard at his rehab. So, from a physical standpoint he's continuing to work to overcome this injury but what we've enabled him to do is also be involved with the football part of it because we think it is important for him to still have that in front of him. He'll come in here, he's here on a daily basis. He does some physical workouts in the morning. He either sits in with the coaches or he'll sit in with us. He's learning some personnel stuff just to keep him involved with us and then he goes and does his rehab at a rehab facility. But the great thing about it is Ryan does as much as we do for him because the way he works at this and the attitude that he has shown and his rehabilitation, it's really uplifting. Never once has he said, why me. And I know that is an uplifting gesture for us and those that deal with him because he shows us that everyone has problems but he's going to work to overcome his as we should ours."
The injury happened on Dec. 4 when he had to be stretchered and carted off the field after making a tackle with his head down. He went to the hospital where he stayed for a couple days before flying back to Pittsburgh. Two days after the injury, he underwent spinal stabilization surgery. Less than two weeks later, he began rehab.
Updates on Shazier's health have often been positive but vague, but on Feb. 4 good, specific news finally arrived. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Shazier was walking again while NBC's Michele Tafoya clarified that A couple days later, Shazier attended a Penguins game and stood up in front of the cheering crowd.
Shazier, 25, is one of the Steelers' best young players, but clearly his future in football is secondary to his ability to live a healthy life outside of football. In Schefter's report from earlier this month, he noted that "the next three to six months are critical in his recovery and will provide a significant idea how much more function Shazier can regain."