‘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

B.C. Indigenous communities receive funding for hands-on trades training

Nuxalk, Witset, Penticton Indian Band, TRU Williams Lake, and Camosun College among beneficiaries

Nuxalk College undertakes language digitization project

New tapes from over 50 years ago are set to be digitally transcribed

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Bella Coola under another winter storm warning

Freezing rain is expected by this afternoon

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

NBA star was reportedly in his private helicopter at the time of the crash

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

Most Read