On December 4, 2017, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier sustained a spinal contusion in a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Two months after his injury, the 6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker who once ran a sub-4.40 40-yard dash at the combine in 2014 and beat Antonio Brown in a foot race, was not able to walk on his own two feet without the assistance of a walker.
Shazier and his fiancée Michelle Rodriguez attended the Penguins-Golden Knights game in February of 2017 to witness Marc-Andre Fleury’s return to Pittsburgh as a member of the Knights.
He was greeted with a standing ovation, and you can tell by the video below that Shazier was using all his strength to stand up to thank the crowd.
Fast forward two months, in April, Shazier inspired millions when he walked across the stage with the help of his fiancée at the NFL Draft.
In possibly the most encouraging footage yet, Shazier posted a video of him doing deadlifts nearly a year to the day after his horrific injury.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said this week:
“To be around him every day, to witness it, is a special thing. “He’s a special guy. He inspires us.”
In the immediate aftermath of his injury, a doctor said he seriously doubted Shazier would ever play football again. While it’s still doubtful, his progress makes you think anything is possible.