UPDATED: Paralyzed Humboldt Broncos player can move his legs after surgery

Taya Fast / November 7, 2019

Ryan Straschnitzki is getting used to life in a wheelchair. He says he’s thankful for all the support he has from family, friends, coaches, doctors and his Adidas team.
(Ryan Straschnitzki)

Humboldt Broncos player Ryan Straschnitzki can now move his legs, just a day  after having major surgery in Thailand. Straschnitzki was paralyzed from the chest down in the Humboldt Bronocs crash over a year ago.

In a video posted to twitter by Straschnitzki’s dad, he is seen learning how to use the implanted device.

In April 2018, he and 12 others were injured when a semi-truck collided with their hockey team’s bus and sixteen other passengers were killed.

Straschnitzki says that he is getting used to life in a wheelchair. He recognizes that it is important for him to maintain a healthy lifestyle and learn to ask for help, but he was excited to receive the surgery.

“It might not be the most fun thing, the flight and possibly the temperature or whatever else is over there but I mean if I can be better than I was the day before then I’m doing right.” – Ryan Straschnitzki, Humboldt Broncos player 

When asked why he chose to go to Thailand, he said that is where he believes the best surgery is for spinal cord injuries. He has read testimonials online and witnessed the success of others who have made the journey for the same surgery.

“If it is the best science out there, then I want to pursue that and get it done.” – Ryan Straschnitzki, Humboldt Broncos player

Straschnitzki had an epidural stimulator device implanted in his spine to hopefully improve daily life. The device was placed below his injury to help re-connect neurons and brain signals to move muscles below the injury.

“As far as I know, it helps with things like bladder and sexual functions. I think it will be a huge improvement and I can’t wait.” – Ryan Straschnitzki, Humboldt Broncos player

Although his family was nervous for the surgery Straschnitzki says, mixed emotions aside, they are supporting him through the whole thing.

Straschnitzki will remain in Thailand for just over a month for physio. Once home, he will most likely have physio five to six times a week. He expects it to be quite vigorous and hard on his muscles but he is up for whatever has to be done to get him as close to walking as possible.

Over the past year and a bit Straschnitzki has already accomplished so much. He says that he is bigger and stronger and he feels ten times better than the start of his recovery. He is hopeful for the future.

One of the biggest accomplishments for Straschnitzki so far, was getting his license back.

“That was huge, it seems like something so small to people who don’t have a disability. But to get that freedom back is huge. I’ve come a long way, I’ve become way more independent.” – Ryan Straschnitzki, Humboldt Broncos player

Straschnitzki also made the provincial sled hockey team in Alberta and says it’s a step towards his ultimate goal of one day making the national team and winning a gold medal. He relived his first time being back on the ice and says it was just awesome.

Ryan Straschnitzki now plays sled hockey for the provincial team in Alberta. His ultimate goal is to one day win a gold medal on the national sled hockey team.
(Ryan Straschnitzki)

“When you strap on your skates for the first time, time doesn’t exist. You’re out there having fun with the people you like hanging around most. I think having that team mentality is huge in everyday life. Some of the best moments were in the locker room, being on the ice again it’s just an escape.” – Ryan Straschnitzki, Humboldt Broncos player

For Straschnitzki, his biggest goal right now is to just keep getting bigger and better.

Listen to the full interview below.