‘It’s daunting:’ Family of paralyzed Broncos player preparing for next phase

Ryan Straschnitzki is undergoing physiotherapy in Philadelphia after becoming paralyzed in bus crash

The parents of a paralyzed Humboldt Broncos hockey player are preparing for the next phase of his recovery — his return home.

Ryan Straschnitzki, 19, is undergoing physiotherapy at the Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia after becoming paralyzed from the chest down in a crash between a semi-trailer and a bus carrying the Broncos junior hockey team at a rural Saskatchewan intersection in April.

He’s expected to return home to Airdrie, just north of Calgary, in a matter of weeks.

His father, Tom Straschnitzki, says he’s already gone through six training programs on how to care for his son once he’s no longer under the constant watchful eye of medical personnel.

The programs include basics of day-to-day care, medication his son is taking and warning signs if something goes wrong.

“Because he can’t feel anything, if there’s a wrinkle, he’ll turn all red and his blood pressure will drop. We’ve got to figure out the signs and try and fix the problem,” said Straschnitzki in an interview at his home with The Canadian Press.

“It’s scary. Hopefully we’ll know what to do and they’ve trained us pretty good.”

READ MORE: Hats fundraiser for paralyzed Humboldt Broncos player takes off

READ MORE: Hockey stick honouring Humboldt Broncos stolen from B.C. porch

Straschnitzki says the family home is about to be renovated to accommodate his son. An elevator is being installed, walls are being knocked down, doorways widened and bathrooms adapted. The reno could take up to six months and, during that time, they’ll need to find a new place to live.

“It’s daunting,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, like building a brand new house.”

The basement where his son will be living is crammed with souvenirs he collected growing up and a lot more that have come in since the accident.

“That’s Connor McDavid’s stick over there,” Straschnitzki said as he pointed to a corner in the basement. “There’s boxes and boxes of letters and we ran out of room here so we put the rest in his room.”

Two books on the floor included “99” by Wayne Gretzky and “Against All Odds”, the untold story of Canada’s university hockey heroes.

WATCH: $15 million raised for Humboldt Broncos in record-breaking fundraiser


A fundraiser to help with the family’s costs was scheduled for Saturday night at the Genesis Centre in Airdrie.

Cody Thompson, Ryan Straschnitzki’s former trainer and the event’s organizer, said it’s important the young man have access to treatment and resources.

“Any time you talk to anyone with a spinal cord injury, the first thing they will tell you is the younger you are, the more expensive it becomes, because of the longer time you will live with that injury,” he said.

“If you have the financial wherewithal, the likelihood of you coming out of this with more meaningful movement, mobility and strength to lead a normal life is exponentially higher (than) if you don’t have that ability.”

This time last year, Thompson said, Ryan was focused on playing with a junior A hockey team.

“Now he’s focused on gaining his ability to walk again and gaining full control over his body.”

Sixteen people died, including 10 players, and 13 others were injured as a result of bus crash. RCMP continue to investigate and no charges have been laid.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fees ensure patients have access to parking at SMH, FHA says

Fraser Health Authority hasn’t heard yet from city hall about pay parking at Surrey hospital

Surrey memories: How the ‘IGUISBCSIR’ Facebook page became a hub for anecdotal history

Former Whalley resident Wes Mussato launched the group in 2011, 11 years after he’d moved to Ontario

Delta council votes to eliminate controversial end-of-service benefit

Three current councillors who served on the previous council will still receive lump-sum payouts

White Rock-South Surrey Titans win third straight B.C. midget football title

Semiahmoo Peninsula team defeated Chilliwack Giants 39-17 in championship game Sunday

White Rock ‘caught between two ideologies’

Council approves further spending on Memorial Park, balks at water rate increase

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

The latest advent calendar trend: Holiday cannabis

A Canadian company is giving people from coast to coast a new way to celebrate the Christmas countdown.

B.C. woman allegedly threatens to rip out intestines of American man

A Kamloops-area woman is accused of harassing and threatening to disembowel an American man

B.C. model looks a lot like expanded taxi industry, ride-hailing group says

Ridesharing Now for BC says it had hoped the bill would be more customer-driven like in other cities

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

731,000 Canadians going into debt to buy prescription drugs: UBC

Millennials and those without private coverage were more likely to borrow money

Most Read