Three years after suffering a devastating spinal injury during a Monday Night Football game against the Bengals, former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier announced Wednesday that he is officially retiring from the game of football.
Shazier may not have returned to the NFL field as he had hoped, but his comeback has been remarkable. Shazier was hospitalized for nearly two months after undergoing a spine stabilization. 10 months after his injury, Shazier attended a game in Cincinnati and was able to visit the doctors in the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to thank them for their care. In 2019, Shazier was able to dance at his wedding.
In his message to fans, Shazier said he plans to “see what else life has to offer” beyond football in the coming years.
“I’m here today to make sure the world knows how much I still love football, how grateful I am for everything football gave me, and I’m here to let the world know that today I am officially retiring from the game I love so much. It’s been over 1,000 days since I got hurt on the field. To lose the game in a way I never envisioned has not been easy. When you play the game of football the way I did, you convince yourself you’re Superman. That nothing can stop you. But then, the moment I got hurt, I stopped being Superman, and that was difficult to make sense. But the way I look at it, God put us all here for a purpose. For 20 years, he let me play football, and now it’s time for me to do what he wants me to do. I’m going to step away from the game for a while and see what else life has to offer.”