What is Green Shirt Day?
Green Shirt Day takes place every year on April 7th, in honour of Logan Boulet, in support of organ donor awareness/registration across Canada. The 21-year-old defenceman was one of 16 people who died in the tragic bus crash back in April 2018. Prior to the crash, Logan was registered as an organ donor – an act that went on to save and improve the lives of 6 other people after he succumbed to his injuries on April 7th, 2018. His generous gift inspired 100,000’s of Canadians to register as organ donors in the weeks following the tragedy and became known as the “Logan Boulet Effect”.
Green Shirt day is a national movement that seeks to inspire Canadians to continue Logan’s legacy and raise awareness about the powerful impact of organ donation. It is also a day to honour and remember all the victims and families involved in the Humboldt tragedy.
On the road to recovery and medical breakthroughs
Of the 13 survivors of the bus crash, some have managed to heal more quickly while others may never walk again.
Ryan Straschuitzki, the former Humboldt Broncos player, sustained a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the chest down following the 2018 tragedy. After you hear the words “you will never walk again” from your doctor, one can only imagine that you would search anywhere and everywhere for some sort of miracle treatment. In Ryan’s case, he came across a breakthrough surgery in a clinic in Bangkok, Thailand. Though it was no ‘miracle cure’, it did offer a sliver of hope in being able to improve the health and quality of life of those with spinal cord injuries.
The procedure involved a spinal cord stimulator and electrodes being implanted into Straschuitzki’s lower back and abdomen. The way this apparatus works is by sending electrical currents to specific muscles. When activated in specific combinations, this stimulates the programmed muscles enough to enhance standing and stepping movements while participants focus on each of these tasks. A prime example of what this achieves is a rhythmic activation of ensembles of leg muscles that simulate walking movements.
With the help of physiotherapists and an assisted walking device, Ryan has managed to overcome the impossible and walk again. Though he is not walking independently, this procedure has helped him regain muscle tone and enhanced his balance- both of which are crucial to his progression and ability to play sledge hockey. With this alternative return to the hockey world, Ryan now has his sights set on representing Canada at the Paralympics.