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Ryan Shazier feels “blessed,” so he helps other spinal cord patients get treatment

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers are working towards a new deal that'll keep him in Pittsburgh for 2021. But Mike Florio explains why the team and Big Ben may regret the deal.

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier’s football career came to a sudden end when he suffered a serious spinal cord injury. But rather than viewing himself as unlucky to have encountered such a fate, Shazier thinks he was one of the lucky ones, because he had the best medical treatment money can buy.

Shazier is now working hard to make sure others can get the kind of treatment he got.

The Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation is now raising money to help spinal cord patients who can’t afford the kind of medical treatment and physical therapy that helped Shazier reach the point where he can now walk, something it was feared he would never do again.

I was truly blessed,” Shazier told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But I was seeing others not getting the same support as me, and I felt no matter what, financially and emotionally we all should have the same opportunities.”

When Shazier was getting his own physical therapy, he met other spinal cord patients who couldn’t be there as often as he was because their insurance didn’t cover as much physical therapy as they needed, or because they didn’t have a support system of people to drive them to and from physical therapy, which Shazier had.

The Shazier Fund has raised about $500,000 toward its initial fundraising goal of $2.5 million.