‘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

COVID-19: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation asks Tofino businesses for support as emergency funding runs dry

“We need to pay for the work they do. It’s such important work.”

DFO says the five aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Canada can lead the way to save sharks from extinction, says fisheries expert

“Combined with fishing extraction numbers, sharks experience huge losses in the environment.”

Five Vancouver Island First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Most Read