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Ryan Shazier Undergoes Spinal Stabilization Surgery

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Steelers' Ryan Shazier has spinal stabilization surgery
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4:26 PM ET

 

Jeremy FowlerESPN Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery after sustaining a severe back injury against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.

The Steelers announced the surgery, which was performed Wednesday by team physicians David Okonkwo and Joseph Maroon, who has long been with the team and developed the ImPACT concussion testing program that the NFL has adopted.

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The team offered no further updates on the matter.

Ryan Shazier suffered an injury to his spine after his helmet crown collided with Bengals receiver Josh Malone's rib/hip area on Monday. AP Photo/Frank Victores

Spinal stabilization surgery is done with the intent to stabilize the spine when there is some evidence of instability there, according to ESPN injury analyst, Stephania Bell. The procedure involves the insertion of some internal fixation, using hardware, to stabilize a segment of the spine, which presumably gives a person the best opportunity to allow the neurological recovery to continue.

On Wednesday, Shazier was transported from University of Cincinnati Medical Center to a UPMC hospital in the greater Pittsburgh area. Shazier, who was injured in the first quarter of the game, spent two nights while undergoing medical tests. Shazier was strapped to a board for stabilization and carted off the field, eliciting emotion from teammates who care about their playmaker and popular locker room figure.

The atmosphere in the Steelers' locker room has been a combination of optimism and concern, with details on Shazier's overall progress scarce. Shazier has been in contact with select players, including safety Mike Mitchell and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Shazier told Roethlisberger for the Steelers to focus on the Ravens, so that's what they are doing.

After Thursday's practice, some Steelers were unaware of Shazier's surgery but are respecting the privacy process. One source said players and coaches are waiting for the appropriate time to visit him.

Defensive end Cam Heyward said he can't play doctor but the whole situation "just sucks."

"We're all praying for him. Hopefully he gets OK," said Heyward, whose had brief phone correspondence with Shazier. "He's getting a million text messages so I don't want to keep bothering him. He'll come around when he needs to."

Added defensive coordinator Keith Butler: "I'm not worried about him playing for us again. I'm more worried about him."

The Steelers signed veteran inside linebacker Sean Spence, who played for Pittsburgh from 2014-15.

Shazier called the defense to his teammates, relaying plays through the headset. Inside linebacker Vince Williams, who has seven sacks on the year, expected to command those duties Sunday.

The Steelers would prefer Shazier be with them but aren't about to make excuses without him.

"We miss 50 but we have to show up and still play," defensive tackle Javon Hargrave said. "We're just doing it for him right now."

Shazier's father, Vernon, his fiancée and other family members have used social media to promote the hashtags #prayfor50 and #shalieve. Shazier himself used Twitter to thank fans for their support. "Your support is uplifting to me and my family," he said.

The injury has affected the NFL beyond Pittsburgh. The Baltimore Ravens, this week's opponent, held a team prayer for the fourth-year linebacker.

"This is real life. That's something that obviously bears remembering," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

 

 

 

 

 

This does not sound good at all. Shazier is one of the most fun players to watch on the defensive side of the ball. The football fan in me selfishly wants him to play again. The human being in me wants him to make the best decision for his own well being and the tenability of a normal life as the years go on.

 

Get well, Mr. Shazier

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It sounds like while his football career could be done, he most likely will be able to live a normal functioning life, which is plenty good after how bad that injury looked.

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He's finished. Even if he is physically able to play again, he probably shouldn't.

 

I hope he recovers enough at least to have the life of an average person. :yep:

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Yeah, it's hard to imagine him playing again. Obviously that is the least of his worries, but still unfortunate for a budding star (or anyone, really). Wish him a speedy recovery and the ability to lead life the way he wants to -- with or without football.

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God damn, I hope he can still walk. Fuck football, just let him make it out alright.

 

So sad, though. He was on a path to the HoF, imo. An impact player from day one.

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Really sad to see such a special athlete and guy get hurt so bad to the point of his physical health being in jeopardy. I encourage y'all to read this twitter thread from one of the guys at Player's Tribune about him.

 

https://twitter.com/seancon/status/938853509306507264

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You know, shit like this is why I haven't been watching much NFL lately. This was on a very routine play, it really didn't look bad at all until he didn't get up but now he might be paralyzed. I still watch Titans games because I have an unreasonable emotional attachment to the team, and I'm kinda making up for lost time for all of the years I followed the team without being able to watch their games because I didn't live in the market, but I don't watch many other games because there's always a handful of hits that just make me cringe. The scariest thing is this play wouldn't have been one of them if I'd been watching the game live.

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You know, shit like this is why I haven't been watching much NFL lately. This was on a very routine play, it really didn't look bad at all until he didn't get up but now he might be paralyzed. I still watch Titans games because I have an unreasonable emotional attachment to the team, and I'm kinda making up for lost time for all of the years I followed the team without being able to watch their games because I didn't live in the market, but I don't watch many other games because there's always a handful of hits that just make me cringe. The scariest thing is this play wouldn't have been one of them if I'd been watching the game live.

 

The problem is leading with your helmet cannot continue to be routine. It happens from time to time, but Ryan Shazier absolutely fits into the Reckless Abandon category of defensive players in the NFL. He sacrificed it all for the team on every play. He's going to hit you and he's going to hit you hard. Unfortunately every single thing that could go wrong because of that did go wrong on one play. I desperately want to see him play again because of that selflessness, but if he somehow does step on the field again, I hope he does with a little more awareness for his own well being.

 

All we can do is hope for one thing at a time. I hope he can walk without issue. I don't know if you all remember Johnny Knox of the Chicago Bears, but he had perhaps the scariest spinal injury I've ever seen in an NFL game. He can no longer walk normally. I hope Shazier has more luck than Knox.

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Because he was never injured in the first place. All you saw was a guy run into another guy with his shoulder pads and fall down and point at his own back.

And then during the game you see 2 more hits, wayyyy harder than that and nothing happened to those guys.

I know you can't handle different opinions. I know it blows your little minds but I'm sorry.you don't have a single shred of evidence that it was a real injury. If it were real, why would he agree to be in a box at the Steelers Pats game just to be used as a sympathy tool for the fans? I'd be home resting and not give a damn about a game.

Wwe, it's all a show.either that you have to believe a god favors people on tv more than the common man. That Chiefs player somehow got cancer and it was gone in a year? Some injuries are real but so what? That doesn't make the games any less staged.

Try to stop watching TV like a bunch of hypnotized dogs. When you see a big play, actually rewind it and all you'll see is defenders running up to a player and falling down when they get near him.its so damn obvious.someone here must at least be a little smarter and open minded then the rest.....?

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Because he was never injured in the first place. All you saw was a guy run into another guy with his shoulder pads and fall down and point at his own back.

And then during the game you see 2 more hits, wayyyy harder than that and nothing happened to those guys.

I know you can't handle different opinions. I know it blows your little minds but I'm sorry.you don't have a single shred of evidence that it was a real injury. If it were real, why would he agree to be in a box at the Steelers Pats game just to be used as a sympathy tool for the fans? I'd be home resting and not give a damn about a game.

Wwe, it's all a show.either that you have to believe a god favors people on tv more than the common man. That Chiefs player somehow got cancer and it was gone in a year? Some injuries are real but so what? That doesn't make the games any less staged.

Try to stop watching TV like a bunch of hypnotized dogs. When you see a big play, actually rewind it and all you'll see is defenders running up to a player and falling down when they get near him.its so damn obvious.someone here must at least be a little smarter and open minded then the rest.....?

I've been one of your biggest defenders from day one, but it's entirely possible that he compressed some shit in his spine randomly on that hit.

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Because he was never injured in the first place. All you saw was a guy run into another guy with his shoulder pads and fall down and point at his own back.

And then during the game you see 2 more hits, wayyyy harder than that and nothing happened to those guys.

I know you can't handle different opinions. I know it blows your little minds but I'm sorry.you don't have a single shred of evidence that it was a real injury. If it were real, why would he agree to be in a box at the Steelers Pats game just to be used as a sympathy tool for the fans? I'd be home resting and not give a damn about a game.

Wwe, it's all a show.either that you have to believe a god favors people on tv more than the common man. That Chiefs player somehow got cancer and it was gone in a year? Some injuries are real but so what? That doesn't make the games any less staged.

Try to stop watching TV like a bunch of hypnotized dogs. When you see a big play, actually rewind it and all you'll see is defenders running up to a player and falling down when they get near him.its so damn obvious.someone here must at least be a little smarter and open minded then the rest.....?

This is really fucking insensitive

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It would be a pretty impressive feat for the league, all the coaches, players and refs to all be in on this and nobody ever comes out to expose it. I'm not sure if you're trolling but it's hard to believe that this is your actual real opinion.

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Don't even waste time talking to this pussy shitbag. Neg and move on.

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Yes just as we are entitled to call him a dumb piece of shit for his. Contrary to popular belief and the way this country is ran, idiots are not the only ones who get to speak.

 

In fact, his opinion does mean less because he is a moron. Not all ideas are equal, and the dude if a fuckin tard.

Edited by Omerta

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Well, he is not exactly likeable. Couple that with how easy it is to prove him wrong and he more or less does it to himself.

I know he has defenders, and in a way admire you guys who do look out for him so to speak because, TGP is a mob. On the other hand you defend a boy whose best qualities died at the crusty end of a tube sock many decades ago.

If we allow ideas to compete in an open market place, it is going to happen, and happen often that there are some ideas that are incredibly stupid. If the purveyor of stupid also happens to be an abrasive dick, you're going to see what you see happening to Phil Elliott.

Edited by Omerta

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Shazier injury is fake? Is that why he visited their practice facility in a fucking wheelchair?

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Shazier injury is fake? Is that why he visited their practice facility in a fucking wheelchair?

Yeah, how many minutes of Shazier's life have you viewed that were not presented to you by the league or his social media accounts?

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You have got to be joking, or trying to prove some weird point about people hail PE.

 

In any case I'll play, there are literally thousands of social media accounts that have hide pictures, and or video of Ryan Shazier during the process of his recovery. Most of it is just fans while wishing him and taking a picture for a keepsake, outside of that there have been a few other people who posted about Ryan Shazier and the hospital, such a staff. There are also other players in the league, who's private accounts have had pictures of him.

 

So even with the exclusion of the NFL and his own personal account, there are still hundreds if not thousands of sources that he is actually in a wheelchair, or was until recently.

 

So he is either being bound to a wheelchair by choice EVERY TIME he goes out in public. Or as we all thought Pgil is a dumb piece of shit, and you are admirably trying to stick up for the little guy. Even though the little guy's a gigantic dick. That being said, it's a position I'm not altogether unfamiliar with, I have been one of the other Phil's biggest Advocate against the tgp mob, so I guess in a weird kind of way I can see your point.

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Because he was never injured in the first place. All you saw was a guy run into another guy with his shoulder pads and fall down and point at his own back.

And then during the game you see 2 more hits, wayyyy harder than that and nothing happened to those guys.

I know you can't handle different opinions. I know it blows your little minds but I'm sorry.you don't have a single shred of evidence that it was a real injury. If it were real, why would he agree to be in a box at the Steelers Pats game just to be used as a sympathy tool for the fans? I'd be home resting and not give a damn about a game.

Wwe, it's all a show.either that you have to believe a god favors people on tv more than the common man. That Chiefs player somehow got cancer and it was gone in a year? Some injuries are real but so what? That doesn't make the games any less staged.

Try to stop watching TV like a bunch of hypnotized dogs. When you see a big play, actually rewind it and all you'll see is defenders running up to a player and falling down when they get near him.its so damn obvious.someone here must at least be a little smarter and open minded then the rest.....?

 

 

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