Ryan Shazier has offered his first glimpse into his recovery and reality.
The 25-year-old posted a photo of himself on Instagram on Wednesday from inside the Pittsburgh Steelers practice facility, the first time he’s been able to be with his teammates at practice and in meeting rooms since his suffering his injury on Dec. 4.
Shazier is wearing a Steelers hat and letterman’s jacket, but is sitting in a green wheelchair.
Shazier didn’t give details on his physical status, but the fact that he’s still in a wheelchair gives an indication of how serious his injury was and how far he still has to go.
In his photo caption, Shazier wrote, “I want to thank the Lord for the first downs that he has been allowing me to achieve. The touchdown is going to come in his timing, but today was a first down. I was finally able to make it to practice with my teammates. It’s great to be back for practices and meetings. Just to be able to feel a part of it means the world.
“So I’m working harder than I ever have to get back. Ive been making strides over the past month and continue to make progress. Taking it day-by-day, but I’m far from done. The Lord has not finished his work yet. I want to say thank you to the fans and Steelers Nation for the prayers. If it wasn’t for my family, friends and your prayers I wouldn’t be where I am now. They have lifted me and my family through this journey and I ask for you to continue praying for me, as I continue to work daily on improving my health. #Shalieve#Steelers#prayfor50”
Shazier was hurt last month, making a tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football. He has undergone spinal stabilization surgery, and neurologist Dr. Anthony Alessi, who consults with the NFL Players’ Association, told ESPN that type of surgery revealed that Shazier’s injury was far more severe than the spinal contusion that had been reported shortly after he was injured.
Shazier was at Heinz Field when Pittsburgh hosted the Patriots on December 17, and the Steelers’ defense has been galvanized by the idea of playing and winning to honor their young leader.