‘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

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

Paula Foot narrates a collection of stories to appeal to the imaginations of the young and young at heart with a new album​ ‘Moments with Miss Paula: Stories for Fall and Winter’. (Submitted)
New album of stories from Cowichan storyteller offers children a world of magic

The stories will appeal to six-, seven-, and eight-year-olds

The VIJHL's Kerry Park Islanders' games have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
Isles victorious before league shutdown

The Kerry Park Islanders were able to sneak in one last game… Continue reading

Lake Cowichan’s Oliver Finlayson, second from left, and his family — including grandma Marnie Mattice, sister Avery, mom Amie Mattice and dad Blair Finlayson — were all smiles on Nov. 16 when their pool arrived, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Lake community comes together to help family get vital pool

Oliver Finlayson, 9, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and hydrotherapy is a big help

The Little Corner Sandwich Shop in Cobble Hill is opening a second location in Duncan in January. Pictured are owners Clayton Frost and Chris Jameson at the Cobble Hill location. (Submitted photo)
Business notes: Little Corner Sandwich Shop coming to Duncan

Cobble Hill business expanding woth second location

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week (Nov. 23) at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Entire gym class at northern B.C. high school isolating after confirmed COVID case

Contact tracing by Interior Health led to the quarantine

After twice have their wedding plans altered due to COVID-19 restrictions, Suzanne Schmidt and Andrew Sturgess got married in Bakerview Park last weekend, with the only guests being their two daughters, Zoey (foreground) and Tessa. (Darren Ripka photo)
From New Zealand to Bakerview Park, B.C. couple weds in ‘backyard’

Twice scaled-down wedding ‘proof that good things still happen during bad times’

Most Read