As we wrote about earlier today, Ryan Shazier’s goal is to play football again. But he’s got a long road ahead of him to get to that point, a thought that isn’t lost on him. Speaking at Wednesday’s press conference, Shazier outlined the next steps in his rehab.
“That’s a good question,” Shazier responded when asked what his next milestone was. “One of the things I’m looking forward to doing is I want to be able to start walking a little bit more by myself without using a cane. If that’s camp, I’m happy, if it gets to the regular season, I’m happy for it.”
Shazier entered and exited the podium with the assist of a cane but in just over a month, already seems to be moving easier than he did on the night of the draft.
In his mind, those short-term milestones will help him reach his dream of playing again.
“Honestly, I’m just trying to take it one day at a time. I know at the end of the day, I have a final goal. And I have little steps ahead of it. but my next step is to pretty much being able to start walking by myself without the support of a cane or holding someone’s hand or anything like that.”
Draft night was the first time we’ve seen him publicly walk. Shazier recalled weeks earlier when he took his first steps and the emotional magnitude of the moment.
“When I was in rehab, the first few steps I took, me and my family were crying. Sometimes I look back on my videos and I still cry. But they’re all tears of joy…you go back and see where you came from and where people thought you would be to where you are now and where I plan on being. It really makes me appreciate every moment, every single step I take, every time I’m here with these guys, every time someone talks to me. I try to keep a positive mindset because you just have to appreciate every single moment that you’re in.”
Repeatedly during the press conference, Shazier thanked the city of Pittsburgh, a city that, in his words, has always had his back. He cited specific examples, like an elementary school that sent a get-well card with over 500 signatures.
Internally and externally, Shazier has a tremendous support system that will let him take those next steps, both big and small.