Airdrie’s Ryan Straschnitzki continues to keep his spirits high despite being paralyzed following last week’s bus crash in Saskatchewan.

The 18-year-old continues to recover at the University Hospital in Saskatoon and says the support from everyone in Airdrie has helped him greatly.

Ryan Straschnitzki with his Dad Tom in the hospital (Photo Courtesy: Tom Straschnitzki)

“With the positive thoughts and the amount of support I’m getting, I can pretty much deal with anything at this point. When I see that stuff it makes me think ‘I can do this, I can get through it’.”

Straschnitzki is able to recall what happened on that tragic night when his team was off to a playoff game in Nipawin.

“All of a sudden, the bus driver yelled ‘whoa’ and slammed on the brakes and we ended up hitting the semi. I kinda blacked out from there. However long later I woke up, laying on the road, staring at the bus and it was severed in half. Teammates were in front of me bloody and moaning. I wanted to help so bad, I just couldn’t move my legs or anything. Thank goodness we had some civilians around to help and wait for EMS.”

When he arrived in hospital, he continued to ask about his teammates on the Humboldt Broncos, which speaks to the close-knit bond he had with them.

“They were pretty much brothers to me. I think any hockey team would say that. You just have that hockey relationship. You put everything on the line for them and when something tragic like that happens, it’s absolutely devastating. The bond is so strong.

Amidst the tragedy and the news of his paralysis, Straschnitzki says he’s determined to keep going, putting the past behind him and doing whatever he can to play the sport he loves.

He shares this message for anyone else battling similar circumstances.

“It gets better, you have lots of people supporting you. No matter what, don’t give up, just do what you’re capable of and things will turn out the way you want.”

Straschnitzki says there’s no word yet on when he’ll be able to leave hospital but that his progress is going well.

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