Steelers' Shazier has surgery to stabilize spine

From ESPN - December 7, 2017

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery after sustaining a severe back injury against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.

The Steelers announced the surgery, which was performed Wednesday by team physicians David Okonkwo and Joseph Maroon, who has long been with the team and developed the ImPACT concussion testing program that the NFL has adopted.

The team offered no further updates on the matter.

Spinal stabilization surgery is done with the intent to stabilize the spine when there is some evidence of instability there, according to ESPN injury analyst, Stephania Bell. The procedure involves the insertion of some internal fixation, using hardware, to stabilize a segment of the spine, which presumably gives a person the best opportunity to allow the neurological recovery to continue.

On Wednesday, Shazier was transported from University of Cincinnati Medical Center to a UPMC hospital in the greater Pittsburgh area. Shazier, who was injured in the first quarter of the game, spent two nights while undergoing medical tests. Shazier was strapped to a board for stabilization and carted off the field, eliciting emotion from teammates who care about their playmaker and popular locker room figure.

The atmosphere in the Steelers' locker room has been a combination of optimism and concern, with details on Shazier's overall progress scarce. Shazier has been in contact with select players, including safety Mike Mitchell and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Shazier told Roethlisberger for the Steelers to focus on the Ravens, so that's what they are doing.

After Thursday's practice, some Steelers were unaware of Shazier's surgery but are respecting the privacy process. One source said players and coaches are waiting for the appropriate time to visit him.

Defensive end Cam Heyward said he ca not play doctor but the whole situation "just sucks."


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