Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is continuing to inspire people while he continues to rehab from the serious spinal injury he suffered last season.
On Thursday, Shazier reportedly spoke to more than 1000 Pittsburgh Public School seniors who took part in Pittsburgh Promise Senior Signing Day, which signifies their post-graduate plans for a higher education. During his roughly 9 minute-long speech, Shazier congratulated those students in attendance for graduating in addition to telling them all about the struggles he’s been able to overcome in his life so far and that includes him dealing with being diagnosed with alopecia as a child in addition to overcoming doctors telling him that would never play football when he was teenager due to scoliosis.
“My back looked like an S, almost,” Shazier explained while talking about his scoliosis. “So basically, my doctor told me when I was in like ninth grade, tenth grade, ‘Hey, you’ll never be able to play football again.’ So, imagine your biggest dream of your life and some guy just shoots it down before you really get a shot to show everybody what you can really do. That’s why I always try to tell people to stay as positive as you can. Just always have somebody in your corner that’s strong. Always have a great support system.”
Shazier went on to explain how he then talked to two different doctors and was eventually given the chance to play football again.
“I’ve literally been playing tackle football since I was four years old,” Shazier told the crowd.
Shazier also went on to tell those in attendance Thursday that he couldn’t move his lower body at all right after suffering his spinal injury last year.
“And now I have the opportunity to walk out here and talk to you guys,” Shazier said. “I came in my wheelchair and was planing on walking out, but honestly, I’ve been doing so much rehab my legs are a little shot right now.”
The Steelers placed Shazier on the teams Reserve/PUP list on Wednesday and on Thursday they turned most of the $8.718 million base salary he’s scheduled to earn in 2018 into a signing bonus presumambly to ensure that his 2019 base salary will be the league minimum after the final year of his contract tolls next offseason.
Friday will mark five months since Shazier suffered his injury during the first quarter of the Steelers Monday night road game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I wanted to thank y’all for yall’s support,” Shazier said Thursday. “The city of Pittsburgh’s been so kind to me.”
You can watch Shazier’s entire speech below courtesy of WPXI-TV.