There might have never been a Monday Night Football quite like the one this month between Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals.
It had everything on the field, quality touchdowns, a great comeback, but also an array of penalties and dirty play. Unfortunately, there was an added and unfortunate incident which made everyone think way beyond football.
Pittsburgh linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a frightening back injury during the first quarter of the Steelers’ Monday Night Football victory over the Bengals.
Shazier pulled off a hit in the first quarter but came off second best after his head had led first in the tackle. The Steelers star seemed unable to move his legs before it was then said ‘he had some movement in his lower extremities’ when he made it to hospital with a reported spinal contusion.
Whilst those initial reports in the 24 hours after the game seemed positive, the reality is quite different several days on. Shazier’s exact status remains unclear but several reports have painted quite a difficult picture for the 25-year-old.
After being transferred from Cincinnati to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center last Tuesday, Shazier underwent spinal surgery a day later before neurologist Dr. Anthony Alessi told ESPN that the star’s plight must be much worse than first thought.
First, Steelers director of communications Burt Lauten provided the above statement on Shazier’s situation, with Alessi then sharing his view over the phone in a conversation with ESPN reporter Michele Steele.
Alessi told Steele that Shazier’s state must be much worse than a contusion because surgery wouldn’t be needed in that case.
In the tweet above Steele says that Alessi believes the bones around the spine are dislocated, with his opinion as a neurologist detailed below:
“It's not good. We’re not going to see him this season. He may not play football again.”
Now it’s important to point out that Alessi doesn’t have access to Shazier’s records and is making a judgement on the information that has currently been released. For now, the wait continues for fans hoping to learn more about Shazier’s exact current prognosis.
The most important thing in this situation, though, is the long-term health of the 25-year-old. Forget football, this a young man we’re talking about. Hopefully he will be able to live a relatively normal life regardless of whether football is in his future or not.