Ryan Straschnitzki was one of the many members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team whose life changed dramatically in April 2018. He escaped with his life, but, Straschnitzki, now 20 years old, was left paralyzed from the chest down. In early November, Ryan Straschnitzki travelled to Thailand to partake in a new experimental surgery that involved getting an epidural stimulation implant put in his spine. On November 20th, Straschnitzki’s father tweeted a video of his son re-learning how to walk with the help of multiple therapists and a wheeled walker. The video depicted Ryan Straschnitzki’s first steps since walking onto the bus in early April 2018.
Not only was this a major breakthrough for Ryan Straschnitzki and his family, but also in the neurologic medical field. The device implanted in his spinal cord helps to reconnect the neurological messages sent in the brain to the body.
Sports have a major influence on our identity and social life. Ryan Strachnitzki had to cope with more than just the crash; he had to deal with an inability to walk, let alone skate. When critical injuries occur that end a sports career, many athletes’ embodied sense of self is also put at risk. Ryan Strachnitzki continues to work hard to regain movement in his lower half and preserve his identity as a hockey player. Many new possibilities are now closer than ever due to this new surgery.