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It’s been nearly two years since Ryan Shazier suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a December regular season football game. The injury has kept Shazier off the football field, but he still hasn’t given up his dream of one day making a return.
“I still want to make the Hall of Fame, still want to be the best linebacker in the NFL,” Shazier told the Sun-Sentinel. “I’m not giving up on my goals, and the doctors said don’t give up on my goals, so there’s no problem with me doing that.”
The injury required spinal stabilization surgery and doctors told him that he had less than a 20 percent chance to ever walk again.
However, since then Shazier has been able to defy the odds.
He famously walked across the stage at the NFL draft in 2018 roughly four months after his injury and earlier this year posted a video of himself doing a box jump.
Shazier is grateful for the time he’s had and the milestones he’s been able to reach.
“I try to be appreciative of every day I get,” Shazier said. “Because every day I’m beating the odds. Every day I’m getting better, proving people wrong that never thought I’d be where I am. I constantly am proud of where I’m at. There are some moments that people see that are a little bigger than others. I set goals, but every day that I take another step, take another breath, I’m truly thankful and praise God for that.”
Before his injury, the first-round pick had begun to cement himself as a key member of the Steelers defense. Across his 46 games, Shazier amassed 303 combined tackles, seven sacks and seven interceptions en route to two Pro Bowl nominations.
The upcoming 2019 season will be Shazier’s second straight on the Steelers’ physically unable to perform list. Still, he’s hopeful to one day make a return to the football field and play for the team that drafted him.
“I’m just going to keep working, and hopefully I’m going to be back as soon as I can.”
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