The Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation is the brainchild of former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, Ryan Shazier, whose life-altering spinal cord injury (SCI) opened his eyes to a vulnerable community and the systemic barriers SCI patients face in their road to recovery.
Spinal cord rehabilitation is expensive, painful and exhausting for patients and their caregivers. During his recovery process, Ryan had the opportunity to meet SCI patients, caregivers and families, many of whom opened up to him about their mental, physical and emotional struggles. Through countless stories, Ryan soon realized a reoccurring theme: there’s a tremendous need when it comes to funding, resources and support for the SCI community.
Connect with Ryan:
Ryan started the foundation with one overall goal in mind…
…to ensure all SCI patients have the same support and fighting chance as Ryan to live independent and meaningful lives, no matter their socioeconomic status.
How You Can Help
Increase the number of rehab visits available to SCI patients.
“Rehab changed my life. We’ve learned the best results for rehab happen within the first 18-24 months of recovery. If we can give spinal cord injury patients access to the best support as soon as possible, they have a fighting chance to gain back their independence.”
– Ryan Shazier
Serve as a navigator for SCI families and friends in need of critical resources.
“Spinal rehab drains all of your resources – your finances, your will, your emotional and mental reserves. You don’t feel like cooking, much less anything else. You don’t think about those little things until you need them. They may sound small, but when someone provides them for you, they are big and they can go a long way to helping you stay positive in supporting your loved one in rehab.
– Vernon Shazier, Ryan’s father
Establish an emotional support network of families and friends of individuals with spinal cord injuries.
“We want family caregivers to know that it’s ok to have emotions, ok to lash out, we know what you’re going through. You’re going to have tough times, but we are going to get through them together. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
– Michelle Shazier, Ryan’s wife and primary caregiver during his recovery