Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is done for the season after suffering a serious back injury that required surgery. As the Steelers keep fighting for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs, Shazier’s father, Vernon, offered an update on his health.
“We have seen some improvement that is encouraging,” Vernon said, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “We’re 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.”
They have certainly leaned on their faith during such a tough time.
“We’re praying for healing and keeping our mind and faith strong,” Vernon said. “We know we’re in a deep valley, but we do not feel alone. 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. We haven’t asked why. Bad things happen to good people. But God’s always faithful.”
Does he think that people should stop playing football after what happened to his son?
“The reality of the game is that it’s a violent sport. I naturally pray for those guys going out there every game,” Vernon Shazier said. “Any day there’s a football game playing, I’m praying. About whether people should play, I don’t think I’m at that point to think about it.”
Shazier was named to the Pro Bowl, though he obviously won’t be able to play. That was one of his goals for 2017.
“Ryan had two goals going into the year ― a Pro Bowl and a Super Bowl,” Vernon said. “He’s been able to check one off the list. He’s hoping to check the next one off.”