Calgary

Teen paralyzed in Humboldt Broncos bus crash arrives in U.S. for spinal rehab

An Alberta teen has arrived at a Philadelphia hospital for spinal rehabilitation, after he was paralyzed by a bus crash that killed many of his hockey teammates in April.

Ryan Straschnitzki, 19, was paralyzed in the collision

Ryan Straschnitzki smiles as he speaks to reporters at Shriners Hospitals for Children, Thursday in Philadelphia. (Jacqueline Larma/The Associated Press)

An Alberta teen has arrived at a Philadelphia hospital for spinal rehabilitation, after he was paralyzed by a bus crash that killed many of his hockey teammates in April. 

Nineteen-year-old Ryan Straschnitzki was transported by a private plane, and then ambulance to the Philadelphia's Shriners Hospital for Children Thursday. The cost of the trip and treatment will be covered by the Shriners. 

"We're here to help him become as independent and as functional as possible, and to gain as much recovery as he can. He'll work with physical therapy and occupational therapy … we will train him to do as much as he can on his own and try and get him as functional as possible," said Shriners nurse care manager Kimberly Curran. 

Ryan Straschnitzki is wheeled on a stretcher into Shriners Hospitals for Children on Thursday. (Jacqueline Larma/Associated Press)

Curran said Straschnitzki is a "great candidate" for rehabilitation. 

He was previously undergoing twice daily physiotherapy sessions at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary. 

On April 6, a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos Saskatchewan junior hockey team was struck by a semi-truck on a rural highway, killing 16 people and injuring 13. 

The collision left Straschnitzki paralyzed from the chest down, along with broken ribs, a broken collar bone, punctured lung and bleeding from the head and pelvis. 

He's expected to be in Philadelphia for six to eight weeks. 

The Shriners Hospitals launched the first spinal cord injury rehabilitation program in 1983 in the U.S., and the program focuses on building strength, confidence and independence. 

Injured Humboldt Bronco Ryan Straschnitzki is officially off to the U.S. for "just better" spinal rehab. It comes after the Shriners made an offer he couldn't refuse. 1:33

Treatments include aquatic therapy, robotic-assisted gait training and electrical stimulation among others, according to the hospital's website. 

The team was on its way to a playoff game when the crash happened. A GoFundMe for the families impacted has raised approximately $15 million.

The collision is still under investigation. 

With files from Dave Will and The Canadian Press

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