When the doctors gave him a 20 percent chance of ever walking again, Pittsburgh Steelers’ All-Pro linebacker Ryan Shazier was faced with the biggest challenge of his career: relearning what it meant to live his best life—and coming to terms with the game he loves that had given him so much. No longer able to measure success in tackles and sacks, he soon learned how to channel his passion into making an impact off the field. In WALKING MIRACLE (Grand Central Publishing Hardcover; November 30, 2021) Shazier chronicles his miraculous road to recovery and how he learned use the power of faith and positive thinking to build his new best life.
Throughout his memoir, Shazier greatly credits faith as his “not-so-secret weapon,” having grown up as a preacher’s son and with a mother, he affectionately describes as a “God-fearing, walking advertisement for the Golden Rule.” Time and again, he turns to his parent’s many teachings on the power of faith, discipline, and integrity to help him get through life’s greatest challenges.
WALKING MIRACLE follows the arc from December 4, 2017, when Shazier was injured playing the Cincinnati Bengals, to his retirement. For three years, Shazier doggedly pursued a return to professional football. He took small wins as first downs on the drive to return to the field: moving his toes, walking, dancing at his wedding, and ultimately running and returning to the team. What Shazier didn’t realize is that along the way, he was preparing himself for another purpose—that of father and husband, philanthropist, and football analyst. The journey was preparing him not for a renewed life as a middle linebacker, but a renewed life after the game.
In his early years, we see Shazier overcome childhood alopecia, which caused a great deal of emotional pain, and scoliosis, which nearly derailed his dreams of playing college and professional football. We gain insights into legendary coaches Urban Meyer and Mike Tomlin. And we see him star on the field; Shazier was one of the best defensive players in Steeler history—a history full of great defensive stars.
WALKING MIRACLE—the message on a bracelet given to him by his Godmother—is the story of Ryan’s comeback, but it’s also a book of life’s lessons, challenges, and so much more.
Written By: Roxanne Jones