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

Spartans clinch first place in Pacific Division with win over UBC

It was ‘a really physical battle in a crosstown rivalry’ coach says

VIDEO: G-Men seek revenge Saturday night in rematch at Langley Events Centre

Portland’s Winterhawks downed the Vancouver Giants 5-3 during a road trip down south.

UPDATE: Abbotsford murder victim was brother of slain gang leader

Mandeep Grewal gunned down Thursday, brother Gavin killed in North Van in 2017

Man who sexually assaulted teen in Abbotsford is declared dangerous offender

Anton Foulds has more than 30 convictions, dating back to 1991

LETTER: Retired firefighter defends union’s election involvement

In rebuttal to another letter writer’s stance on firefighter involvement in municipal politics.

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Prank pizzas delivered to B.C. mayor on election night

The fake orders happened throughout Victoria mayor’s re-election campaign

Chilliwack voters reject anti-SOGI school board candidates

Slate, including Barry Neufeld, had opposed anti-bullying LGBTQ teaching resource

MLA to become Nanaimo’s next mayor, could weaken NDP’s grasp on power

Leonard Krog’s win will trigger a byelection when he gives up his provincial seat

Horvat nets OT winner as Canucks beat Bruins 2-1

Young Vancouver star had spirited scrap earlier in contest

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

3 in serious condition after altercation on Granville strip: police

Patrol officers came upon the fight just after 3 a.m. on Granville Street near Helmcken Street

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Pedestrian rushed to Lower Mainland hospital after being hit by car

Friday night crash is latest in rash of collisions involving pedestrians in Surrey

Most Read