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Ryan Shazier works a youth football camp

Darin Gantt

Steelers outside linebacker Ryan Shazier was back on a football field over the weekend.

And though he’s far from being able to play again, he’s staying connected to the game he vows to return to.

Via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Shazier helped with a youth football camp, encouraging the crowd of 300 kids along with teammate Jesse James.

Shazier, who suffered a spinal injury last December, walked around the field with the assistance of canes. After walking to the podium to announce a Steelers pick at the draft, it’s a pair of high-profile appearances for a player who lost feeling in his legs from the hit in a game against the Bengals. He’s not going to play this season but hopes to return.

“It helps me out, but it helps the people on the outside looking in, also,” Shazier said in a video released by the Steelers. “They’re doing all this for me and they barely know who I am. It really means a lot for me, so when I get a chance to show people I’m doing better and come out here and help them and get the responses I’ve been getting, it makes me want to go even harder every day.”

Having a player suffer such an injury during a game could have been the NFL’s worst nightmare. But Shazier has become an inspirational figure, largely through his own positive attitude and determination to walk again.