A year ago, Ryan Shazier was involved in a game with the Pittsburgh Steelers that changed his life.
During an AFC North divisional rivalry against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Steelers linebacker was hit head-on in his back, which caused him to fall to the ground and unable to move.
Shazier was unable to walk off the field and had to be placed onto a stretcher before being transported to a hospital. Initial reports feared that he could be paralyzed.
The following day, it was revealed that he had sustained a spinal contusion and that he would have to undergo spinal stabilization surgery to secure the injured section of the spine and to aid in neurological recovery.
The surgery ended his 2017 season and he hasn't played for the Steelers since. One year on, Shazier has reflected on the moment which changed his life with a powerful and emotional Instagram post.
In his caption, Shazier stated how thankful he was that he's improving on a daily basis and that with every fiber of his being, he's embracing this journey. He thanked his family and friends for their support, as well as the support from the UPMC trainers and staff.
Shazier expressed his dream of one day returning to the field to play again earlier this year.
He said, according to CBS Sports: "My dream is to come back and play football again. I've been working my tail off every single day, so I have that in the back of my mind every single time I go to rehab. I just try to stay positive every day, so I'm just trying to do everything I can to get back."
Back in April, the linebacker showed the world that he was making great strides in his recovery when he walked out onto the stage at AT&T Stadium to announce the Steelers' first-round pick of the 2018 draft.
In October, he walked unassisted onto the field where he was injured, and just recently, he just started jogging.
Steelers' coach Mike Tomlin was asked about how much it means to see Shazier’s progress and have him around his coaching staff and team.
He said, according to Triblive.com: “Ryan is a special guy. I don’t know if I can give what we witnessed just due by talking about it. To be around him every day, to witness it, is a special thing.
"He’s a special guy. He inspires us. He continues to inspire us. And I just appreciate that he allows us to be as close as we are to his journey.
"His journey is ongoing, so we’re going to continue to support him and continue to learn from him.”
Many Steelers fans, as well as many NFL fans, will be hoping that Shazier is able to return to the field and play in the NFL again very soon.