Ryan Shazier’s Walking Miracle (Don Montgomery photo)

Life doesn’t always go the way one plans, but faith, positive thinking and passion are the keys to what comes next — a series of lessons learned chronicled by former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier in his new book, “Walking Miracle.”

Shazier, 29, was an NFL Pro Bowl linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers when he suffered a spinal contusion in a head-on tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals in December 2017. The incident left him temporarily unable to walk and ultimately led to his official retirement from football last September.

In “Walking Miracle,” Shazier and co-author Larry Platt detail the journey Shazier has undertaken in the four years since his life-changing injury. After being at the top of his game and excelling at the sport that had given him so much positivity in his life, Shazier was forced to redefine success. Shazier began to realize that success didn’t have to be based on wins, sacks and tackles. Instead, it was things like moving his toes and walking, dancing at his wedding and raising awareness about alopecia, the auto-immune condition he was diagnosed with as a child.

“Life is about overcoming adversity, we all go through it in many different ways,” Shazier said. “When someone picks up this book, I hope that it can help them in one way or another. That is what this project is all about”

The book has received praise from readers from all walks of life, ranging from rapper Snoop Dogg and Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer to actor and entrepreneur Mark Walberg and New York Times #1 bestselling author Ryan Holiday. Snoop Dogg called the book “one of the most inspiring books he’s ever read,” while Meyer — Shazier’s coach at The Ohio State University — said the book is a “testament to how much hard work, faith and positive thinking can change a life and inspire others.”

Since his retirement from football, Shazier has received his degree from OSU, began working as a football analyst and co-founded Shay Trucking, a family-owned transportation company, with his father, Vernon. The Pine Township-based business focuses on transporting vehicles across the country.

“For a good portion of my life, football has been the thing that defined me. I’ve learned so much over the past four years and sometimes it takes time to find true purpose in your life,” Shazier said. “Now, that purpose has changed, change is something that should be embraced, and in this chapter of my life I want to inspire others to overcome their adversities and help people in any way that I can.”

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