PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s been about two and a half weeks since Ryan Shazier was carted off the field with a spinal injury. He’s been making progress, but his father says he still has a long way to go.
In an interview with ESPN, Shazier’s father, Vernon Shazier, says he and his family are relying on faith to cope with this injury.
During the interview, Vernon, who’s an NFL chaplain, said: “We have seen some improvement, and that is encouraging. We are taking it one day at a time. We do not know what tomorrow holds. It’s a daily journey we don’t know, but I know God is getting the message.”
Shazier went through spinal stabilization surgery at the beginning of the month after a collision on the field during the Bengals game in Cincinnati.
He’s at UPMC Presbyterian, but made his first appearance out of the hospital during the New England Patriots game at Heinz Field last Sunday, which Vernon says was therapy for his son.
Vernon says its been a struggle for Ryan and his family, but the outpouring of support from people across the country has helped immensely.
“You’ve got little kids that are praying for him. He has over a million people praying for him. It’s coming from so many different sources. I got an email from a kid who has a medical issue, where Ryan has touched his heart. You have kids wishing Ryan gets better for Christmas. It’s keeping us up,” said Vernon.
Vernon also told ESPN that the harsh reality of severe NFL injuries hasn’t affected his outlook on the sport just yet. He’s been in and around the game for 16 years.