Hockey player Ryan Straschnitzki thought he would never walk again. The former Humboldt Broncos player was paralyzed from the chest down in 2018, when his team's bus collided with a tractor trailer. The crash killed 16 and injured 14 others.
Straschnitzki's life was changed forever, but he did not give up hope. He vowed to learn how to play sledge hockey, which is designed for players with physical disabilities – and he hopes to join the Olympic team. "I'm gonna get us the gold," Straschnitzki said, according to CBS Sports.
He also never gave up hope that he would walk again. Earlier this month, the 20-year-old traveled to Thailand to get a stimulator implanted in his back. The device uses electrical currents to communicate with his nerves, according to BBC News. After receiving the device, Straschnitzki was able to try walking.
Last week, with several therapists and a walker guiding him, Straschnitzki took his first steps since he was paralyzed. His dad captured the emotional moment and shared it on Twitter, with a bit of humor. "Ryan did so good, I sent him to the beer store for me. I'm thinking he didn't go as Im still waiting," Tom Straschnitzki wrote.
When he returns home to Canada, the hockey player will continue his therapy at a clinic that specializes in spinal cord injuries, CBS Sports reports.
In an interview with local publication Discover Airdrie, Straschnitzki's dad pointed out the last time he walked was when he stepped onto to the bus involved in the crash. Because he never gave up hope, Straschnitzki has overcome the odds and is walking again.