On December 4th, Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered from a spinal cord injury early in the game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Ryan went into a tackle head-first, rendering him almost paralized. Shazier was carted off the field and admitted into a local hospital. Two days later, on December. 6th, he underwent Spinal Stabilization Surgery, taking him out of the Steelers’ predicted prosperous season. Fortunately for Shazier, his injury was not as detrimental to his life as it could have been. Other players have not been as fortunate.
Head and spinal injuries are no joke; in 1978, Darryl Stingley, a wide receiver for the New England Patriots, suffered a similar injury. When Stingley was just 26 years old, he broke his neck in after being tackled. Shazier was much luckier than Stingley - Stingley was left paralyzed at the height of his football career. His dreams were crushed and his life forever changed. This horrific incident happened on August 12th in a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders (now the Los Angeles Raiders). Stingley’s injury occurred when he was hit by Raiders defensive back Jack Tatum. Tatum was such an aggressive player that he coined the name ‘The Assassin."
Another extreme injury similar to Stingley’s is that of Michael Irvin, who suffered from a spinal cord injury in 1999. Irvin was a receiver for the Dallas Cowboys when he was hit and taken off the field on a stretcher.
Yet, Shazier has been very lucky and recently attended a practice on January 7th after his intense spinal surgery.
Injuries like this only reiterate how dangerous sports like football can be. They show viewers that players and coaches need to work harder in order to ensure their own safety.