‘Quite optimistic:’ Injured Bronco player undergoes spinal surgery in Thailand

Ryan Straschnitzki was implanted with an epidural stimulator

Former Humbolt Bronco hockey player Ryan Straschnitzki who was injured in a team bus crash gets his new jersey with PX3 AMP hockey team in Calgary, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

A hockey player paralyzed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash has received spinal surgery in Thailand that he hopes will restore some of his movement.

Doctors on Monday implanted an epidural stimulator in Ryan Straschnitzki’s spine.

The 20-year-old from Airdrie, Alta., is to remain in Thailand until early December.

“The doctor said it went very well. He’s quite optimistic,” Michelle Straschnitzki said after receiving an update from her husband, who travelled with their son to Asia.

“He’s got a long couple of weeks for recovery, and he’s pretty well out of it right now.”

Straschnitzki was one of 13 players who were injured when an inexperienced truck driver blew through a stop sign and into the path of the Saskatchewan junior hockey team’s bus in April 2018. Sixteen others on the bus died.

Paralyzed from the chest down, Straschnitzki has said he isn’t expecting a cure but hopes the implant will restore some muscle movement and things such as bladder control.

A small device like a remote control is to send electrical currents to his spinal cord to try to stimulate nerves and move limbs. The implant is to be programmed over the next few weeks to stimulate certain nerves mapped out by surgeons and therapists.

The surgery can cost up to $100,000 and isn’t covered by health care or insurance. It is also performed in countries such as the United States and Switzerland, but it’s much cheaper in Thailand.

Straschnitzki is hoping to make Canada’s national sledge hockey team and go to the Paralympics. He took his hockey sled to Thailand with him to stay sharp during his stay.

READ MORE: Paralyzed Bronco makes Adidas ad, hall of fame nominee list

“Before he went in, he texted a guy out here about ice time for Wednesday,” his father said on Twitter just before the surgery. “Ha, ha. What a kid.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Youngest Lacombe Ram looking to build on solid rookie year

Stretch-4 Aidan Anderson looking to expand his role in the Ram offence next season

Community Initiatives Program (CIP): approved grant for Lacombe FCSS

The total grant amount is $75,000 with projects being implemented from Aug. 1st, 2020 to July 31st, 2022

Water quality advisory issued for Gull Lake at Aspen Beach

Elevated levels of fecal bacteria were detected via testing of Gull Lake water, at this beach location

Water quality advisory prompted by high levels of fecal bacteria in Gull Lake

AHS issued the advisory, and say it will be in effect until further notice

QUIZ: A summer’s day on the water

How much do you know about boats and other watercraft?

As US milk sales rise amid pandemic, “Got milk?” ads return

As US milk sales rise amid pandemic, “Got milk?” ads return

Summertime and the living is easy!

Summertime and the living is easy!

Prosecutor seeking Trump’s taxes cites probe of his business

Prosecutor seeking Trump’s taxes cites probe of his business

Tech sector drives U.S. markets higher after best four months in a decade

Tech sector drives U.S. markets higher after best four months in a decade

FAA spells out design changes needed in grounded Boeing jet

FAA spells out design changes needed in grounded Boeing jet

Progress slow on virus relief bill as negotiations continue

Progress slow on virus relief bill as negotiations continue

Google unveils budget Pixel phone as pandemic curbs spending

Google unveils budget Pixel phone as pandemic curbs spending

Google buys $450M stake in ADT to give Nest a new perch

Google buys $450M stake in ADT to give Nest a new perch

Most Read