Friday, 19 Apr 2024

After Surviving near Death Experience, Ryan Hollingshead Thrives for LAFC

Ryan Hollingshead

There are mornings Ryan Hollingshead wakes up with reminders of the night he almost lost his life. Despite the lingering physical reminders, Hollingshead knows that each tweak and ache is evidence of his survival. After a life-threatening accident that left him with three broken vertebrae, the LAFC defender has made an incredible comeback, excelling on the soccer field like never before.

A Second Chance at Life

The accident occurred one icy winter night when Hollingshead stopped to help a driver involved in a wreck. Tragically, he was struck by another car, leaving him with no feeling in his arms. Doctors were concerned that the injury could leave him paralyzed and recommended immediate surgery. However, the team physician for FC Dallas, Hollingshead’s former team, suggested rehabilitation before undergoing surgery. This decision proved to be the right one, allowing him to regain his strength and eventually return to playing professional soccer.

Rising to New Heights

Fast forward six years, and Hollingshead has not only made a full recovery but has also taken his game to new heights. At 32 years old, he earned a spot on the MLS All-Star team and won his first MLS Cup with LAFC. Known for his versatility and ability to play any defensive position, Hollingshead’s contributions on the field have been instrumental in his team’s success. His nine goals in the past two seasons are the most by a defender in that time frame. LAFC has one more challenge in their quest to become the first repeat MLS champion in over a decade: facing off against the Galaxy in the third El Tráfico of the season.

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LAFC vs Galaxy

A Deeper Perspective

Despite his achievements, Hollingshead remains grounded, attributing his success to a higher purpose. A deeply religious man, he believes that his survival and subsequent success are part of a greater plan. Instead of dwelling on why the accident happened, he chooses gratitude and embraces the journey. Hollingshead’s faith and perspective have shaped not only his career but also his personal life.


Q: How long was Hollingshead out of the game after the accident?
A: Miraculously, Hollingshead spent less than a week in the hospital and returned to the practice field within four months.

Q: How has the accident affected Hollingshead’s daily life?
A: Hollingshead still faces limitations and experiences lingering pain. He has restricted neck movement and is unable to perform certain activities, such as going on swings or twirling his kids around, due to vertigo.

Q: What led to Hollingshead’s decision to pursue a career in soccer?
A: Initially, Hollingshead planned to prioritize his faith and start a church with his brother. However, he eventually joined FC Dallas after realizing he could continue his passion for soccer while making a positive impact on others.


Ryan Hollingshead’s journey from a near-fatal accident to becoming a standout player in MLS is a testament to his resilience and determination. His unwavering faith, combined with his soccer skills, has propelled him to success both on and off the field. As LAFC faces new challenges, Hollingshead remains grateful for his second chance at life and continues to make the most of every opportunity.