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Almost 5 Years After Devastating Injury, Steelers Ryan Shazier Continues To Inspire

Charles LeClaire / USA TODAY Sports

Almost 5 Years After Devastating Injury, Steelers Ryan Shazier Continues To Inspire

Every fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers remembers the tragic injury  that occurred to retired linebacker, Ryan Shazier on December 4, 2017. The gut wrenching feeling when Shazier was down felt like more than just your average stinger as fans all over the world watched. We are approaching the five year anniversary of the career ending injury, but instead of feeling sorry for himself, the former linebacker has inspired people everywhere.

It started with making Steeler NationShalieve” back in 2017, but his presence and impact is still affecting thousands of people to this day. Instead of dwelling on the five year anniversary of his spinal contusion, we should be focusing on all the great things he has done off the field since retiring from the NFL.

We can start with his impact on the field for the team in the following years. Nearly six months after the incident, Shazier walked across the stage at the 2018 NFL Draft to announce the team’s selection of Terrell Edmunds. He would go on to sill be around the team and defense in 2018 and 2019. The sole ability to have him around the guys and remain a part of the team was in part due to his desire to play football again, but also because of how much he loved the group and organization.

Steelers Retired Linebacker Ryan Shazier

Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker, Ryan Shazier (50) before an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, IN, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Shazier Officially Retires From Steelers In 2020

Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin touched on the star defender’s retirement from football back in 2020 and hinted that he had plans aside from football:

“Ryan is focused on some transitional things in his life and that’s where his focus is right now and he has my and our full support,” said Tomlin.

One of those transitional activities for him was launching the “Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation.” The injury opened up his eyes to the vulnerability of this specific community and he wanted to help. Shazier has private conversations with families who are currently dealing with some kind of spinal cord injury. The website describes this as such:

Ryan Time is a private conversation between Ryan and an SCI individual/family which creates a very personal opportunity to talk to each other about what it is like to live with an SCI. Ryan shares his experiences and gives compassionate advice and support.”

The fund, which was launched back in 2020, is dedicated to pushing forward in the spinal cord injury community and has an ultimate goal of changing how people view these types of injuries.

Steelers Ryan Shazier and Cameron Heyward On The Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation Facebook

Steelers Ryan Shazier and Cameron Heyward On The Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation via Facebook

As if his work with individuals with spinal cord injuries wasn’t enough to put on his plate, Shazier launched his first ever company back in 2021, Shay Trucking.

There is so much to respect and appreciate about Shazier’s path. It wasn’t just walking after his injury, or starting a foundation. The most impressive thing wasn’t starting his new company. It’s roping all of them in together. He is approaching five years since he saw his world crumble and instead of sulking, has ceased the opportunity since and sets an astounding example for people everywhere.

The Steelers surely do miss Shazier’s passion and speed on the field, but the way he has responded in just a short five years after he last played his final football game, he has dedicated his efforts to being a role model and helping the community. He deserves to be commended for his constant positivity, inspiring efforts to give back and drive to not let his injury define him, but make him a better overall person.


What are your thoughts on Shazier’s journey and how he has handled the last five years? Let us know in the comments below!




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  2. Derek Schroeder

    July 19, 2022 at 11:18 am

    Ryan is an amazing inspiration to anyone who knows his story. As a quadriplegic NFL fan I remember seeing that play and being worried about what that injury meant for him. Reading his book Walking Miracle was also incredible to see how he approached his rehab and dominated it to the point of walking again. So much respect for what Ryan has accomplished and his contributions to the SCI community.

  3. Jackie Wilbourn

    July 20, 2022 at 4:06 am

    I’ve have followed Ryan since college and I’ve always loved his game. Not only his game but how he always carried himself on n off the field. Not only am I a Buckeyes fan but a Steelers fan as well. When he got hurt I cried because I knew what he felt like especially being that I have work spinal injuries from my job that I loved which was construction. I would love to talk to him and others because I’ve had a downfall 9 years and it’s getting worse.

  4. Darlene

    July 20, 2022 at 5:34 pm

    Ryan continues to be an inspiration to so many people. His infectious smile and uplifting personality is a GOD send. Love you always. #Braxtonsmom

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  6. Linda Visher

    October 2, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    He is sorely missed. But so happy he [email protected] not stopped moving forward. Strong man and a hero to many. God bless Ryan.

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