Father says Shazier has feeling in his legs

Jan 5, 2018 - 12:14 AM Injured Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has regained feeling in his legs, his father told a Pittsburgh television station on Thursday.

Vernon Shazier said his son is "making progress daily" from a severe spinal injury suffered in a game against Cincinnati on Dec. 4, WPXI reported.

"He's a long ways from where he was Monday night when he was laying on the field," said Vernon Shazier, who declined to answer whether he has seen his son walking.

"He's much better, but we've agreed to keep his progress private until he's ready to share where he's at," the elder Shazier said.

The injury occurred when Shazier tried to tackle Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone in the first quarter of Pittsburgh's 23-20 win on Dec. 4. Shazier hit Malone low with his shoulder pads, then immediately reached for his back while his legs remained motionless.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection was placed on a backboard and carted off the field before being transported to a Cincinnati area hospital.

Vernon Shazier said he was in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when he received a call from his wife telling him their son was injured. Minutes later, Ryan Shazier called his father.

"He said, 'Daddy, pray for me. I can't feel my legs,'" Vernon Shazier said.

Ryan underwent spinal stabilization surgery two days later and remained in a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center facility for rehabilitation. He has attended Steeler games while watching from a suite at Heinz Field.

A pastor, Vernon Shazier said he has relied on his faith to help him through his son's ordeal. He told the television station that he has to "Shalieve" -- which he termed a "compound version of 'Shazier' and 'believe.'"

The father said he expects his son to return to the field.

"Yes, yes I do. I Shalieve. I Shalieve," he said.

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