DALLAS - The FC Dallas soccer player is recalling the night he was struck by a car while trying to help a stranded driver during winter weather
Not only did Ryan Hollingshead survive the terrifying accident, but the midfielder could be back on the soccer field in just a few weeks.
The FC Dallas soccer team is back in training and excited about a new season ahead. But one of their stars got an extended break with a broken neck.
Ryan can laugh about it now, but the accident he survived could well have killed him.
On Jan. 6, Ryan and his wife, Taylor, were on the way to help a friend who'd had an accident while driving in the snow when they saw a car crash on the Bush Tollway in Irving.
Ryan stopped to help and was talking to the driver when, out of the corner of his eye, he saw another car careening toward him.
"I had no time to react. All I had time to do was jump and turn and flex,” he recalled. “I just remember getting hit, kind of hitting into the hood of the car, hitting into the windshield and just getting launched down the road."
Ryan was launched 30 feet down the road. Three vertebrae in his neck were fractured.
"Just unable to move. Couldn't move my legs. Couldn't move my hands,” he said. “I was like, ‘I'm paralyzed for sure.’"
But seconds later, Ryan says feeling began to return and he remarkably stood and walked to his car, where Taylor was facing the other way and had missed the accident.
"There's blood on his face. He's missing his shoes, and his arms are contorted like they can't even move,” she recalled.
Taylor says another bystander was also hit and taken away in an ambulance before he was transported.
Remarkably, doctors at the hospital determined Ryan would not need surgery. He would only need to stay in a neck brace for 6 to 10 weeks.
"I'm obviously hopeful to be six weeks,” Ryan said. “I'd love to take this little guy off."
Abi Shuaib, the motorist Ryan stopped to help, and his wife talked to Fox4 last week, expressing their thanks and promising prayers.
"I tried to grab him, but it was too late and ‘bam!’ The car hit my car,” Shuaib recalled.
Looking back, Ryan and Taylor give thanks.
“Originally when I hit the concrete I was like, ‘I'm going to be out for years if not forever,’” Ryan said. “So the Lord is good. We definitely attribute my health to him and are so grateful that it's not worse than it is."
"The whole thing feels very surreal, and we couldn't be more thankful,” Taylor said.
Ryan says he wants to make sure he is fully healed before he returns to the soccer pitch. But that could happen by April.