Steelers announce Ryan Shazier underwent spinal surgery

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent surgery on Wednesday night at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the team announced on Thursday afternoon.

The brief statement, posted on Twitter by Steelers director of communications Burt Lauten, reads, “Last night, UPMC neurosurgeons and Pittsburgh Steelers team physicians Drs. David Okonkwo and Joseph Maroon performed spinal stabilization surgery on Ryan Shazier to address his spinal injury.”

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal injury early in Monday night’s game against the Bengals. (AP)

Shortly after the Steelers made news of the surgery public, ESPN’s Michele Steele spoke with neurologist Dr. Anthony Alessi, who consults with the NFL Players’ Association about what he makes of the surgery.

“It’s not good,” Alessi said. “We’re not to going to see him [play] again this season. He may not play football again.”

Alessi went on to say that the stabilization surgery is needed when “bones around his spinal cord are dislocated. This is a more severe injury [than a contusion]. This is a much more severe situation on our hands than we thought.”

Shazier was airlifted from Cincinnati, where he was injured Monday night early in the Steelers’ game against the Bengals, to Pittsburgh earlier on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Vernon Shazier, Ryan’s father who serves as an NFL chaplain and motivational speaker, posted a message to his own Twitter feed:

“When life changes before you and fear grips you cling to the Lord who understands your every need, question and heart’s cry. I’m trusting God for a better tomorrow,” Shazier wrote, adding, #prayfor50 and #Shalieve, a combination of “Shazier” and “believe.”

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