REGINA – Jon Ryan may be busy in the United States preparing for this weekend’s Super Bowl, but the impact he’s had in Regina is being remembered this weekend.
“He’s really dear to my heart, and he treats me like I’m a human being, like I’m a normal person,” said Jarrod Livingstone, friend and fan of the Saskatchewan-born athlete.
Livingstone, who has spina bifida, praised Ryan’s humbleness.
“During the  Super Bowl, I said, ‘Jon, do you want me to leave you alone?’ He goes, ‘No, Jarrod, you can text me whenever you want. It could be 2 o’clock in the morning, I don’t care,’” he said.
The City of Regina raised a Seattle Seahawks’ “12th Man” flag at City Hall on Monday, the second year in a row.
“We are very proud to raise the flag for Jon Ryan. This is a great local hero,” said Mayor Michael Fougere at the event.
[email protected] raises 12th man flag in support of @Seahawks’ @JonRyan9. #YQR #SB49 #Sask https://t.co/vly4y1qsz9
— Steve Silva (@SteveCSilva) January 26, 2015
Ryan fever was also felt by Sheldon-Williams Collegiate Grade 12 student Isaac Nadarajah.
The 18-year-old was born with two holes in his heart.
“And as I grew, the holes grew,” said Nadarajah.
A couple of years ago a doctor gave him a dreaded diagnosis.
“I wanted to play professional football for my whole life and then to have someone tell you that you’re never going to be able to do that again, that’s tough to handle,” explained Nadarajah.
Eventually, he was allowed to play as long as it was in a non-contact position. Ryan, a punter, inspired him to continue with football in his new role.
“Lots of kids, they don’t want to grow up to be kickers and punters, but then they see someone from their hometown doing it at such a high level, and I think that’s pretty inspiring,” said Nadarajah.