The Pittsburgh Steelers released a statement on Thursday, Dec. 7, saying linebacker Ryan Shazier, 25, underwent spinal stabilization surgery on Wednesday evening, following the horrific injury he suffered earlier this week. On behalf of team doctors and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Neurosurgeons, the team announced his surgery was to address his injury — the one that occurred during Pittsburgh’s 23-20 win over the Bengals on Dec. 4.
“Last night, UPMC neurosurgeons and Pittsburgh Steelers team physicians Drs. David Okonkwo and Joseph Maroon performed spinal stabilization surgery on Ryan Shazier to address his spinal injury,” the statement read. No other details were given. But a reporter from ESPN said she recently spoke to neurologist Dr. Anthony Alessi, who consults with NFLPA, who told her Ryan’s condition is “not good…We’re not going to see him this season. He may not play football again.”
As you’ll recall, Ryan lowered his shoulder when tackling receiver Josh Malone during the first quarter of the game. Ryan landed on his chest, seemingly reached for the middle of his back and then rolled over. Then, he lifted his arms and called for help. At the time, it wasn’t clear what had happened, but anyone who was watching could see that Ryan was injured in some capacity. He was then removed from the field on a backboard and cart, and taken to a hospital. Following the incident, the team said Ryan would not need surgery, but things have obviously changed since then.
On a positive note, Ryan said that all the prayers he’s receiving from fans have been “uplifting,” so keep sending them his way!
Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to Ryan Shazier during this difficult time.
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