Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was originally said not to need surgery on his injured back. He got hurt while making a tackle in the game against the Cincinnati Bengals, couldn’t feel his legs, and was rushed to the hospital.
When news broke that he would in fact need surgery and would be out for months, if he can ever play again, it was viewed as a setback. Was the injury worse than expected? However, not everyone is looking at it in that light.
“The surgery is not necessarily unexpected, not necessarily bad news, and not necessarily a setback,” said Dr. David J. Chao, per SiriusXM NFL Radio. “The big unknown is the spinal cord and the nerves. This is the type of injury I feared as a team doctor.”
That’s been his stance all along. This is what he wrote when the surgery was first announced and all of the reports claimed that it was very concerning.
“As indicated this AM, surgery was always still a possibility. Spine stabilization surgery was just announced.”
It seems that his position is simply that people took things too far at first. Doctors weren’t sure if he needed surgery, then decided he did. Was the extra concern just from the fact that it appeared that he wouldn’t need it to begin with?
That said, he’s missing one key point: When this first happened, it was compared to the spinal concussion suffered by former quarterback Tommy Maddox. Maddox also couldn’t feel his legs and was temporarily paralyzed, but things got better quickly. Not only did he fully recover, but he only missed two games and was able to play again that year.
In that sense, Shazier’s injury is certainly worse. It’s unknown if he’ll ever be able to play again, and he certainly won’t be back this season.