Paralyzed Humboldt Bronco takes another step toward recovery with walker

·2 min read
Humboldt Broncos bus crash survivor Ryan Straschnitzki is pictured here in June 2021 just after he stood in physio for the first time, saying 'you forget how tall you are.' (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Humboldt Broncos bus crash survivor Ryan Straschnitzki is pictured here in June 2021 just after he stood in physio for the first time, saying 'you forget how tall you are.' (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Ryan Straschnitzki says things "can only get better from here."

It comes after the former Humboldt Bronco, who was paralyzed from the chest down when a bus carrying the junior hockey team crashed in 2018, took his first steps with a walker.

"I was excited and humbled," he said about his thoughts during those first steps. "I have a long way to go, but I'm happy with the progress I've made so far."

Straschnitzki has been working with a team from the Synaptic Neuro Rehabilitation Centre in Calgary after having an epidural stimulator implanted in his spine in Thailand two years ago.

The device sends electrical currents to his spinal cord to try to stimulate nerves and move limbs.

Straschnitzki has learned to program the device, which looks from a distance like a calculator, and has been working his way up to using the walker by lifting his legs while standing.

"I've continued to use the stimulation device both on the ice and during physio therapy sessions, and the progression has been difficult but I've made huge strides," he said.

Straschnitzki has said he hopes to one day play sledge hockey for Canada at the Olympics, but for now is suiting up for Alberta this winter.

"I'll be playing for Team Alberta this upcoming season for sledge hockey to hopefully win a championship," he said, adding he is also planning to take part in the annual NHL sled classic tournament as the Calgary Flames incorporate a sledge team this year.

And physio will still be a big part of his future, which he says will include "hopefully more walking with the walker." Now they just need to figure out the best way how.

His announcement on Tuesday was welcomed by many following his story, and also some who have experienced the same road.

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