The entire NFL community's thoughts have been with the Pittsburgh Steelers this week.
That's because the team's linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery Wednesday as a result of a severe back injury that he suffered earlier in the week, as reported by ESPN. The injury took place when Shazier tried to tackle Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone on Monday Night Football, with the impact of their collision leaving him without movement in his legs as he was carted off the field.
ESPN spoke with a neurologist who consults with the NFL Players Association and the doctor said that the 25-year-old linebacker "may not play football again."
Brock Bowman, a medical director at the Spinal Cord Injury Center at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, also tried to put Shazier's surgery into perspective while speaking with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“This is a surgery on your spine,” Bowman told the newspaper, adding that Shazier would need at least six weeks to three months at best to recover from such a procedure. “And if something is altered, even if there was no injury to the spinal cord, that may be enough to take you out of the 1 percent of the 1 percent of the 1 percent who play professional football.”
But the Steelers aren't even thinking about him in regards to football at this point.
“I’m not worried about him playing for us again, I’m more worried about him,” the team's defensive coordinator, Keith Butler, told the Post-Gazette yesterday. “Ya'll have been updated as much as we have. The thing that we’re hopeful for and prayerful for is that he comes back and he’ll be OK. The football stuff is secondary. His life is a lot more important to me than football.”
Added fellow linebacker Arthur Moats, “After seeing him on the field like that [Monday], I want to see him just walk. That was scary to see him roll over like that on the field.”
Meanwhile, Shazier's fiancée, Michelle Rodriguez, posted this Instagram message yesterday, calling on "everyone to continue to pray for the Lords healing of Ryan."
Overall, there has been an outpouring of support for Shazier during this strenuous time.
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(Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)