And Monday night’s game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers proved to be no exception.
The hearts of fans and fellow athletes sank as they watched Steelers’ linebacker Ryan Shazier sustain a devastating back injury that left him writhing in pain on the field.
Prayers up for Ryan Shazier🙏 pic.twitter.com/92qb4B4NjE
— MeanMug Sports😤 (@MeanMugSports) December 5, 2017
Gasps of shock and concern circulated through the stadium as Shazier was rushed off the field to the hospital—but another head-turning event soon grabbed fans’ attention.
Though the Bengals had just lost to the Steelers 23-20, Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton put his pride aside to kneel in prayer for his injured opponent.
Bengals QB Andy Dalton stayed on the field after tonight’s loss to pray for Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier. pic.twitter.com/NBeWO2bukV
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) December 5, 2017
Viewers and media outlets across the country quickly took to Twitter in praise of the class-act move by Dalton, who knew his “allegiance was to Christ first and then his team.”
“CLASS ACT: Andy Dalton stays to pray for Ryan Shazier with the Pittsburgh Steelers after losing the game,” wrote WBOY-TV anchor/reporter Lauren Talotta.
CLASS ACT: Andy Dalton stays to pray for Ryan Shazier with the Pittsburgh Steelers after losing the game. Shazier was carted off the field after sustaining a back injury during the game. pic.twitter.com/l2PPoDiZ0t
— Lauren Talotta (@LaurenWBOY) December 5, 2017
Even those who weren’t Bengals fans couldn’t help but become Andy Dalton fans after witnessing the selfless move in the face of defeat.
“Not a Bengals fan, but respect to Andy Dalton for staying on the field after he lost to pray for Steelers player Ryan Shazier with the other Steelers players,” tweeted self-acclaimed Patriots fan Jeff Kelly. “This guy loses and actually stays on the field to pray for an injured player. Wow.”
Shazier will reportedly not need surgery, but he did remain in the hospital overnight for doctors to evaluate the severity of his injury. He’s not out of the woods yet, as additional tests are still needed, but he appears to be in high hopes in spite of the setback.
Thank you for the prayers. Your support is uplifting to me and my family. #SHALIEVE
— Ryan Shazier (@RyanShazier) December 5, 2017
Steelers’ free safety Mike Mitchell also tweeted an update on Shazier’s progress along with some encouraging, faith-filled words:
“For those concerned just got off the phone with 50. He’s in good spirits already making progress! God has him. Keep praying keep believing in faith. Never thought I’d say this but
Amidst a football season full of protest, controversy and division, it’s a beautiful thing to see these opponents join as a band of brothers with bold faith, both on and off the field.
Prayers for a speedy recovery for Ryan Shazier, and a continued display of unity this NFL season.