Ryan Straschnitzki was left paralyzed in April 2018 when a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team and staff crashed into a tractor-trailer

By Georgia Slater
November 21, 2019 03:17 PM

After becoming paralyzed from the chest down during the April 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus accident, Ryan Straschnitzki did not think he was going to walk again anytime soon — let alone less than two years later.

The former hockey player, 20, accomplished a major feat this week as he was able to move his legs for the first time since the accident, his father, Tom, shared on social media Wednesday.

With help from physical therapists and a recent surgery, Tom was able to watch his son walk again and captured the miracle moment on video.

“Bout time he got off his ass,” Ryan’s father joked of the clip. “1st time since he boarded the bus that horrendous day. 2nd day of doing this. Therapist helping with knees and ankles so they don’t buckle,” he explained of the machine helping Ryan move.

He continued to make light of the situation, adding, “Ryan did so good, I sent him to the beer store for me. I’m thinking he didn’t go as I’m still waiting. #thirstySON.”

“There he is,” viewers can hear Tom marvel in the background.

Ryan Straschnitzki poses for a photograph in Philadelphia, Straschnitzki, a young hockey player was paralyzed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Canada Humboldt-Straschnitzki Moves On Hockey, Philadelphia, USA - 20 Mar 2019
Credit: Matt Rourke/AP/Shutterstock

According to the BBC, Ryan traveled to Thailand in early November to receive a surgery that is not yet available in Canada.

The surgery involved putting a stimulator in the spinal cord so that it can send electrical currents and communicate with the nerves.

Following the surgery, Tom shared a clip of the “mapping” process which helped Ryan learn to control his muscles.

“Opps Therapist is only holding his leg. Ryan is moving it. Then Ryan asks if he can go work out at the Mall Gym after. The stunned therapist said NO. You just had surgery. Seriously son. Haha,” Tom wrote of the clip.

In April 2018, a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, which is part of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in Canada, collided with a tractor-trailer in western Canada’s Saskatchewan province while en route to a playoff game in the town of Nipawin.

Of the 29 people who were on the bus at the time of the crash, including team members, coaches, support staff, and the bus driver, 16 were killed — 10 of them being players. Thirteen others were injured. At the time, the team was made up of players aged 16 to 20.

Despite the tragic accident, the team finished the 2019 season in sixth place out of 12 to make it to the league playoffs, according to the Canadian Press. It was a significant accomplishment for the Broncos, as the club had to be completely rebuilt in the months following the devastating accident.