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

Cloverdale Legion to crush cars with a 38-ton tank this Saturday

Open house will have carnival games, a BB range and more

Ill-fated Surrey recovery house to host open house

Back on Track event planned for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 21

Once-homeless Lower Mainland veteran hopes government provides help

James French, formerly Sgt. French, found himself on the streets in Langley a few years ago

Dream of touring about to come true for White Rock comedian who uses wheelchair

‘Ramp for Ryan’ benefit show raised $4,500 for Ryan Lachance’s portable ramp

‘Not much has changed’: Why overcrowding in Surrey schools has persisted for decades

FINAL IN A SERIES: Education minister, longtime trustee weigh in on packed Surrey schools

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

VIDEO: Rare white killer whale captured by drone near Campbell River

The transient orca has been named Tl’uk, a Coast Salish word that means ‘moon.’

B.C. oil tanker ban squeaks through final vote in Senate

Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports on B.C’s north coast

Teens have privacy rights, doctor tells inquest into B.C. boy’s opioid death

Elliot Eurchuk died of a drug overdose. He was found unresponsive in his bedroom in April 2018

’When thunder roars, go indoors’: How to keep safe before lightning strikes

Each year, an estimated 10 deaths and as many as 164 injuries are lightning-related

B.C. rolls out online registration to speed up evacuee processing

Central Okanagan district tests province’s streamlined emergency management digital self-registration

VIDEO: After 73 years, siblings separated by adoption reunite in B.C

Donna Smith of Abbotsford and Clayton Myers of Williams Lake are glad they met each other

NHL Draft 2019: First-round mock selections

Hughes expected to go No. 1 overall; Canucks have 10th pick

New Westminster police seek video of fight between two teens

Police responded to a fight at Pier Park in the early hours of June 14

Most Read