Ryan Shazier's life changed 1,010 days ago when the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker sustained a spinal contusion making a tackle.
Since that day on Dec. 4, 2017, Shazier has battled every step, believing he could one day return to the game. None doubted the desire of the spirited linebacker.
Wednesday, Shazier officially announced his retirement from football.
"Football gave me everything I could ever want and more. It taught me about hard work, dedication, teamwork," he said in a social media message. "It took me to college and the NFL. It made me money. It gave me a life that most people can only dream about. I'm here today to make sure the world knows how much I still love football. How grateful I am for everything football gave me. And I'm here to let the world know that today I am officially retiring from the game I love so much."
After the injury, the Steelers tolled the linebacker's contract for two years, allowing him to remain with the organization on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) and receive medical care. In March, the Steelers placed Shazier on the reserve/retired list.
Wednesday brought about the linebacker's official retirement statement.
"When you play the game of football the way I did, you convince yourself you're Superman, that nothing can stop you," Shazier said. "But then the moment I got hurt, I stopped being Superman, and that was difficult to make sense. But the way I look at it, God put us all here for a purpose. For 20 years, he let me play football. And now it's time for me to do what he wants me to do."
The next chapter in Ryan Shazier's story is just starting. It could be the beginning of the best parts.