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Ryan Shazier posts heartfelt message upon release from rehab facility

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier on Thursday made a significant step in his recovery after suffering a horrific spinal injury during a Dec. 4 game, as he was released from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s rehabilitation facility.

The plan going forward is for Shazier to continue treatment on an outpatient basis, per a tweet from the hospital.

Shazier undoubtedly still faces a long and tough road on the way to recovery. But the Steelers linebacker wanted to be sure to thank everyone who has helped and supported him up to this point. And he did so in a touching, heartfelt post on Instagram, which featured an inspirational photograph of Shazier standing alongside teammate Ben Roethlisberger.

I’ve had a lot of 1st downs at UPMC, but you know being the defensive guy I am, my mind is on 3 and out. With that being said, I want everyone to know that I’m moving on to the next step of the process. Today’s a big day for me as I’m officially being released from the hospital. I want to take a moment to thank the people who have helped me the past two months. First and foremost, I want to thank God because at the end of the day I don’t think I’d be making progress without His vision and hands protecting me and my family. I will continue to trust in Him and thank Him, because it all starts with Him. To my family: you’ve been my rock. Words can’t express how thankful I am for you Michelle, RJ, Mom, Dad, and VJ for always being there for me. You’re my everything. To Jerome: my trainer and best friend. Thank you for being there from day 1 and every day after continuing to push me to be better every day. I’d like to thank Dr. Okonkwo, Dr. Harrington, Dr. Maroon, and Dr. Schroeder for their amazing work on my procedure and continuous care. I can’t appropriately express how grateful I am for how quickly you’ve helped me bounce back. I want to thank the medical staff at UPMC for their amazing care, support and therapy they have given me- especially Joe, Nikki, Karolina and Dani. I know the staff will continue to help me find a way to keep on pushing as we continue therapy. The support from my teammates has been truly amazing. From former players to current players and their families- they have helped me and my family day to day with visits and gifts. We can’t thank you enough. I want to thank Mr. Rooney, Coach T, Mr. Colbert, and the entire Steelers organization for the unwavering support they’ve given me. I knew they were an amazing organization, but more than ever they’re family to me. Lastly, I want to thank Jimmy, Candice, and the CAA Sports staff for being here when I need them most. I don’t know if I’d be where I’m at or making the progress I’m making without you guys. I want everyone to know that all of the support and prayers are absolutely being answered. I will continue to work hard and push and find a way back. #Shalieve #Steelers #prayfor50

A post shared by Ryan Shazier (@shazier) on

Shazier paid a visit to a Steelers practice last month and his teammates not surprisingly were incredibly thilled simply to see him. There’s no doubt Shazier’s latest social media message will yield the same response, not only within the Steelers organization but in every person rooting him on his recovery from afar.