COLLEGE PARK -- Ryan Schlothauer knows it's a longshot for him to make the NFL, or even get an invitation to a rookie and free agent mini-camp this summer. The former Maryland tight end, who last played for the Terps in 2012, also knows something else about beating the odds.

Few thought Schlothauer would even play for the Terps in the first place after his high school career ended at Eastern Tech. But the chances of continuing with football — or any kind of physical activity — seemed insurmountable nearly a year ago after Schlothauer was stabbed in a Towson bar.

Stab wounds in his chest caused him to lose a large amount of blood, and the then 23-year-old said he stopped breathing as the ambulance raced to the trauma center at Sinai Hospital. Brought back to life by paramedics, Schlothauer spent nearly a week in the hospital.

"I had a bracelet on my wrist for my entire stay in the hospital that said, 'Fall Risk,'" Schlothauer recalled Tuesday. "If I got out of bed, they had to have nurses around me in case I fell. Big nurses. If I wanted to get up, I had people at each side carrying the blood pails."

Months of rehab followed as the muscles that were cut by the knives used by the men who assaulted him could heal. It took a couple months for Schlothauer to regain full function in his lungs, which had collapsed. It took three months before he could muster the energy to walk for five minutes.

It wasn't until around Christmas — eight months after the attack — that Schlothauer said he "could really get after it in my workouts."

Those workouts at school, at the Under Armour Performance facility in Baltimore and at Get Fit in Forest Hill led the 6-foot-5, 270-pound Schlothauer to participate in the Maryland football's team Pro Day Tuesday.

"I couldn't do it on my own, I had the motivation but I didn't know what to do, I never had two collapsed lungs," Schlothauer said, crediting those he worked with for his return. "Not many [in my condition] get back to full health in less than a year."

Chris Welsh, the head trainer for Under Armour's Performance facility in Baltimore, said that Schlothauer was a motivated client.

"You have to have a goal," Welsh said Tuesday. "When you have a goal like Ryan, you wake up every morning with a focus. It gives you that drive. He's exceeded all expectations."

Though his times were a little slower than they had been a year ago, in part because of a few extra pounds he purposely put on to "give scouts an option to move me around," Schlothauer was encouraged by his performance in front of two dozen NFL scouts and front office personnel.

"Hopefully I went out there and showed that I can catch the ball, I can run routes," said Schlothauer, who caught only one pass in his career at Maryland while playing mostly as a blocking tight end and on special teams.

"If they want to switch me to tackle, if they want to play me on special teams, if they want to put me on defense like in high school, I just want to play football," he said. "That's in my prayers every night."

Part of Schlothauer's prayers have already been answered in the way he recovered from the incident.

"The fact that I got my health back so quickly, that was my main goal," he said. "Doing Pro Day this year motivated me to get my health back. The fact that Coach [Randy] Edsall let me come back, that's all I could ask for. Making it to the league, would top everything. It would top my life."

Edsall said it was only right to allow Schlothauer to get another Pro Day after his chance to participate in any minicamps "was taken away from him."

Schlothauer's fallback plan would be to finish the MBA program he started at the university's downtown Washington, D.C., campus a few months before the incident. Schlothauer had to stop his studies "because they wouldn't let me get on the Metro travelling," he said.

Along with recovering physically, there was the emotional aspect of his recovery.

"I try to hold it in, I do, but it's been a rough year for me and my family, it wasn't just me that got impacted by it, it was my whole entire family," said Schlothauer, who has two older brothers and a 10-year-old sister. "The fact that I'm out here doing this today means the world to everyone who've been involved in my life."

Schlothauer admitted that as well as he seems to be doing emotionally, "There's times late at night when I'm in bed when I let go."

A religious person who was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes while at Maryland, Schlothauer said he attends church every Sunday with his family and speaks to youth groups in Rosedale and Bel Air about what he has gone through.

"I take it as God had his hand on my life," Schlothauer said.

It didn't seem that way the night of April 20, 2013, when Schlothauer went out with friends in Towson. He got involved in an altercation between one of the men who attacked him and the man's girlfriend.

Initially charged with first-degree attempted murder, Nicholas Jones of Baltimore pleaded guilty in January to first-degree assault while Robert Lee Blackshire II was found guilty in February of second-degree assault. Blackshire received 18 months probation and Jones will be sentenced later this week.

don.markus@baltsun.com
twitter.com/sportsprof56