Michelle Straschnitzki couldn’t stop crying when her son’s experimental spinal surgery was successful. A year after the tragic bus crash, Ryan was finally able to move his legs, and this was an emotional moment for the entire family. All their sacrifices have been worth it, and Ryan may even get back on the ice once again.
The tragic bus crash happened early last April. A team of 29 junior hockey league players were on their way to a game. At the intersection of the highway, the bus collided with a semi-trailer truck. The incident killed 16 and seriously injured 13 others. Ryan was one of the few lucky ones who lived, but the accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. The driver of the truck has since pled guilty for the crash, and he is serving his sentence of eight years in prison.
Last Monday, Ryan went in for surgery at a Thai hospital. His family invested almost $100,000 into his surgery because they were willing to do anything to get him better. The procedure involved placing an implant in his spine that will send electrical currents along the spinal cord. This will help stimulate the nerves and move his limbs without needing the traditional pathways, which are damaged.
Hey Canada -- wake up' Ryan Straschnitzki's father says a spinal surgery in Thailand has helped his son move his legs again. Now the family is sharing their recovery to inspire others @Strazsr @JnorthcottCBC #CBCNN pic.twitter.com/r1AuG0uGUd— CBC Morning Live (@CBCMorningLive) November 8, 2019
The epidural stimulator was a success. In a video shared by his family, Ryan can be seen moving his legs, and he even almost kicked his therapist. Immediately, he asked his therapist if he can work out at the gym later. Everyone had a laugh, and obviously he was denied.
For Michelle, seeing her son finally move his legs again was an incredibly emotional moment. The smile she saw on her son was overwhelming, so she burst into tears. The entire situation just blew her away, and she can’t believe that everything worked out so well. The year was long and difficult, but she kept believing in his recovery. His leg movement was definite proof that you shouldn’t just give up on your faith. With some luck, a lot of perseverance, and access to the right resources, Ryan may be able to play for Canada’s Paralympic sledge hockey team one day.