Ryan Shazier Launches Nonprofit to Support Spinal Injury Patients

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is helping those impacted by the same injury that took his NFL career.
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PITTSBURGH -- Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is helping those impacted by the same injury that took his NFL career.

Three years ago, Shazier's life changed after a hit against the Cincinnati Bengals when he suffered a spinal cord injury on the field. He was given a 20% chance to walk at the time.

Not only did Shazier learn to walk again, but he was able to dance with his wife at their wedding last year. He officially retired from football earlier this year.

On Monday, Nov. 23, Shazier announced that he has launched his own nonprofit, the Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation, to help support spinal cord patients.

"I'm truly excited to announce the Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation," Shazier posted to Twitter. "My team and I have been working behind the scenes to find ways to continue to push forward progress for the spinal cord community. One step at a time we will change how people view spinal injuries."

Since the announcement, head coach Mike Tomlin, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, defensive captain T.J. Watt and others have all reached out to congratulate the former linebacker.

The nonprofit will help those who suffer spinal cord injuries with the cost of rehabilitation.

"The mission of the Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation is to optimize recovery and build an empowering community for SCI patients, families and caregivers," William Kassling, chair of the fund's board of directors, said in a statement. "More than 90% of SCI cases are caused by a sudden and unexpected traumatic event. Our initial focus will raise money to help those living with sports-related and vehicular accident injuries."

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.