The Pittsburgh Steelers continue to prepare for the 2018 regular season and, while fans’ minds move from one step of the process to the next, I often find myself thinking about Ryan Shazier.
Whether it is the ‘SHALIEVE’ 412 Clothing t-shirt I often wear, or watching the 2017 season in review on TV and seeing Shazier make plays on the field before his injury.
Whatever the reason, while the Steelers and their fan base move on to the next season, Shazier continues to be enmeshed in a ridiculous fight.
Shazier is a public figure and shares news on social media quite often. But when it comes to his rehabilitation, he’s very private. You don’t see many workout videos or anything like that — in this respect he’s very secretive.
Sure, we saw Shazier out and about this offseason using canes for assistance, but when Jeremy Fowler of ESPN posted a video on his verified Twitter account of Shazier working with the linebackers, it left me with mixed feelings.
The video is below:
Ryan Shazier walking with the Steelers linebackers during drills. pic.twitter.com/fGOjo5I7Lk— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 27, 2018
First, it is ridiculously motivating to see Shazier even walking. It might not look like he’s making much progress, but this man was partially paralyzed just over six months ago. Think about that for a second. From not being able to feel some of his extremities, to walking. The mere fact he’s even walking, assisted or not, is a miracle in itself.
Such a tough and dedicated young man.
On the other hand, I watch the players jogging down the field in front of him, and find it difficult to watch Shazier struggling to walk behind them, only to have to sit on a water cooler for a rest. I understand this now is the nature of life for Shazier, at least in the near-term. But only one year ago, it was Shazier running all over the field making defensive calls to his teammates.
I showed the video to my wife and prefaced it with, “This is hard for me to watch.”
As fans, we’re on the outside looking in, but we also feel a deep connection to the players we root so hard for on a weekly basis. You’re used to injuries, sometimes season or career ending, but this was different.
Maybe it was thinking about how Shazier was just starting to come into his own as one of the best inside linebackers in the game. Maybe it was how young he still is, and the kind of life he has ahead of him.
Whatever the reason, the video reminded me just how fragile life is, and how none of us should ever stop SHALIEVING — whatever that means to you. I continue to send positive thoughts Shazier’s way in hopes he’ll make a full recovery. I don’t even care if he plays football again — that’s up to him — I’m just hoping for a full recovery.