Eric LeGrand broke two vertebrae and suffered severe spinal cord injury while trying to tackle Malcolm Brown during the Rutgers – Army game back on October 16, 2010. LeGrand was determined by the doctors as paralyzed from the neck down. Almost two years later, in a wonderful symbolic act, he was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Can LeGrand play in the NFL? No. But his condition has slightly improved over the past 16 months, regaining movement in his shoulders and sensation throughout his body. With the help of a mental frame, LeGrand was able to stand upright, tweeting a photo of the event. He is steadily regaining movement in his arms.
LeGrand blew everyone away with his spirit and determination to not be a victim of the cruel fate inflicted upon him. He led the Scarlet Knight onto the field a year after getting injured. When visiting camps of NFL teams, inspiring players with his spirit and will power.
Greg Schiano, head coach of the Buccaneers since January, was also the Rutgers head coach during LeGrand’s playing days.
I’m thankful that I was… check that; I am an athlete. I was squatting 605 pounds at the time of my injury. There’s no question that the muscle has helped in rehab. But even more important is the athlete’s mentality. At Rutgers, Coach Schiano has a saying: one-eleventh. You’re one of 11 guys, each with his own responsibility and skills. So focus on your job. That’s what I’m doing now: focusing on my responsibility. Rehab is like my football training camp. This is my new life and I’ve adjusted. But I’m working my hardest to get out of it and get to the “regular season.”
I believe I will walk again. I do. When that happens, I already know what I’m going to do. I’ll go to Giants Stadium and find the exact spot in the field where I went down. I’ll lie there for a second. And then I’ll get up on my own power and walk away.
Not just a favor to a former player, who’s about to graduate this fall from Rutgers, and possibly proceed into a career of broadcasting, which has already begun in part ,doing some broadcast work for the school. An appreciation of a young man who just doesn’t want to let whatever happened to him slow down his dreams. If some of his spirit and story rubs off on the Bucs’ players this season, this might be the free agent signing of the season.