This piece was updated after publication with more information.
Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a back injury during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals and was sent to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in an ambulance for evaluation.
Shazier was injured while tackling Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone less than four minutes into the game. The 25-year-old linebacker led with the crown of his helmet on the tackle, and after his head made contact with Malone’s midsection, Shazier fell to the ground. He immediately reached for his back before rolling over, and he repeatedly clenched his fist before taking off his helmet. The following is a video of the hit, which is disturbing to watch.
Monday Night Football announcer Sean McDonough noted that he did not see Shazier move his legs after the hit. NFL Network reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala said Shazier was pointing to his waist as he left in the ambulance.
Ryan Shazier is being taken out of the stadium in an ambulance right now. He kept pointing to his waist. #Steelers— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) December 5, 2017
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who did not have an update on Shazier in his postgame press conference, went to the hospital after leaving Paul Brown Stadium. The Steelers later announced that Shazier had undergone an MRI and a CT scan. Shazier “will not require surgery at this time,” according to the statement, which noted he “continues to improve.”
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport provided an update on Tuesday morning, reporting that Shazier “has shown promising signs.”
#Steelers LB Ryan Shazier has shown promising signs this morning. I’m told he has some movement in his lower extremities after last night’s back injury, but the next 24-48 hours are key for increased improvement.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2017
There have been a handful of frightening hits in prime time this season. In Week 4, Packers receiver Davante Adams suffered a hit that concussed him. In Week 8, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco also suffered a scary hit to the head.
Shazier, who is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 2014 draft.