The Pittsburgh Steelers held on for a wild 39-38 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night in a game dedicated to injured linebacker Ryan Shazier. The home team wore cleats honoring Shazier and multiple Steelers spoke about playing to honor their fallen teammate.
Shazier, who has shown “gradual improvement” since undergoing spinal surgery last Wednesday, watched the game from his hospital bed, and FaceTimed with the victorious side after the final whistle.
He was also awarded the game ball from Sunday night’s game, which is a feel-good moment.
At the risk of sounding preachy, allow me to offer this thought. Shazier faces a long and difficult road ahead. Supporting him with a hashtag and using him as inspiration to win football games is fine and harmless. It’s important, though, to remember that there are more pressing real-world challenges facing Shazier — and he’ll face them every day, not just on Sundays.
Here’s hoping he has the unconditional support he needs, not just from his organization, but from those closest to him who will be asked to do much of the heavy lifting.