Ryan Straschnitzki undergoes physiotherapy sessions twice daily at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.(Canadian Press)

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

Ryan Straschnitzki is involved in the toughest game of his life.

Seven weeks after being paralyzed from the chest down when a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team crashed, he has embarked on the thing a lot of athletes dread — two-a-day workouts.

It was his choice to undertake twice daily physiotherapy sessions at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.

“It’s tough, but it’s worth it for sure,” said Straschnitzki in an interview with The Canadian Press from his hospital bed. “I’m better. Physio’s getting better. I’m feeling a lot better. Everything’s healing perfectly — I’ve still got some soreness and what not.”

Recently he was learning to move himself from his wheelchair to a bed during physio with the use of a slide board. It took a long time.

He also worked at turning over on his side. That involved locking his hands together and rocking back and forth. He finally achieved it, but there was a look of pain on his face and he immediately grabbed his shoulder.

Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, a punctured lung and bleeding in his head and pelvic area.

“So many upper body injuries. It’s kind of amazing that my body was able to survive and I could get out of that alive. I’m just so grateful.”

The April 6 collision between the team’s bus and a tractor-trailer at a rural intersection in Saskatchewan is still being investigated. The Broncos were on their way to a playoff game. Sixteen people were killed and 13 were injured. RCMP have only said the truck was in the intersection when the crash occurred.

“There’s all sorts of mixed emotions really — anger could be one of those. It’s kind of tough to talk about sometimes. It’s not all the time, but it’s once in a while.”

Straschnitzki keeps in touch with his teammates through online group chats. During the interview, his cellphone dinged steadily as he received more and more texts.

He said his friend Jacob Wasserman, the team’s goaltender, is also paralyzed, but from the navel down. Both are interested in playing sledge hockey once their recovery is complete.

Straschnitzki spends his day in rehab and with video games. Giant containers of potato chips and beef jerky are close at hand.

He’s had a lot of visitors, including Canadian wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen

“He’s a really great guy and really inspirational for sure,” Straschnitzki said.

“He told me there’s more to a person than their legs … you don’t let it get you down and you get up and do something about it. You just keep pushing through.”

One of Straschnitzki’s aims is to walk again.

“That’s the big goal in mind. If I can be able to push myself and do that … then that proves it to everyone. I’ve heard some news which is pretty tragic, but doctors have always been wrong before,” he said.

“I think just having the mindset that you can do this for sure will help.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Alberni Valley Bulldogs ready for Team Kazakhstan visit

Game will be ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity for some Bulldogs’ players

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Donation helps North Island College trades students

NIC receives $38,000 equipment donation from Seymour Pacific Developments Ltd

Tommy Chong says Canada took wrong approach to pot legalization

He also talked about the likelihood of another Cheech and Chong film

Mike Duffy can’t sue Senate over suspension without pay, judge rules

Duffy’s lawsuit sought more than $7.8 million from the upper chamber

Language on Sikh extremism in report will be reviewed, Goodale says

A public-safety ministry document indicats terrorist threats to Canada included a section on Sikh extremism for the first time

Questions raised over retailers who shame shoplifters with photos

Alleged theft from a sex shop in Newfoundland led to posts on social media

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

Most Read