Ryan Shazier, the inside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, experienced a harrowing injury during the first half of a Monday Night Football game wherein the Steelers went up against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. As seen in the below video, Shazier reached for his back after ramming into a Bengals player with his head in an attempt to tackle him, reported USA Today. Shazier lowered his head prior to his tackle attempt, with Ryan reaching for his back after his helmet rammed into the side of the football player.
Shazier was carted off the field as it was noted that Ryan didn’t appear to move his legs after going down, leading fans to wonder if Shazier had injured his back and possibly experienced paralysis or a spinal break. As seen in the below tweet from Burt Lauten, the Pittsburgh Steelers Director of Communications, Ryan was transported to the hospital and wasn’t expected to return to Monday’s game. No updates about Shazier’s health would be provided for the moment, Lauten wrote, but stay tuned to his Twitter account for Shazier updates in the future.
Meanwhile, the fact that Ryan was carted off field without movement in his legs has caused the name Shazier to trend on Twitter, with plenty of people posting prayers for the football player.
— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) December 5, 2017
A common them among those tweeting about Ryan feature people saying that they can’t concentrate on the game after witnessing such an injury.
Injury update: #Steelers LB Ryan Shazier has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation on his back. He will not return to tonight’s game & there will be no further updates at this time.
— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) December 5, 2017
In the absence of further updates, folks on social media are already positing their own theories about Shazier’s injury and wondering if any paralysis has occurred.
Video renditions like those below from Twitter show what a burst fracture looks like, with questions about whether or not Shazier’s head impact in the tackle attempt could have caused such a break to his spine.
looks like a possible burst fracture for Ryan Shazier… but I sure hope it's not! pic.twitter.com/JpCU2zgRqi
— Das (@Das_is_me) December 5, 2017
The burst fracture theme is the guess of armchair quarterbacks on social media, as well as medical doctors, due to the way Shazier’s legs immediately went limp – a common association with spinal cord injuries of that type.
Ugh. That Shazier injury in MNF looked like a likely burst fracture. Probably headed to surgery ASAP.
— Ian Dorward (@IanDorwardMD) December 5, 2017
For my money I’d say T10-T12 burst fracture with associated spinal cord injury. His legs were limp immediately upon impact. Hope I’m wrong.
— Odoyle Rules (@DoctorDoyle11) December 5, 2017
Shazier was seen covering his face with his hands as he was strapped to a backboard prior to being lifted onto the cart and taken off the field to the applause of the audience.
Some good news coming out from Steelers. Two players called Shazier's injury a spinal chord concussion, comparable to Tommy Maddox injury in 2002; Maddox missed 1 game. Encouraging news, another said.
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) December 5, 2017
— Cedric Molina Gomez (@cednfl) December 5, 2017
As reported by the official Twitter account of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Shazier is being evaluated for a back injury, with his status unknown thus far.
#50 Ryan Shazier has been taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a back injury.
At this point, his status is unavailable.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 5, 2017