Paralyzed Rutgers Player Eric LeGrand Overcoming the Odds


In the wake of the injury, the outpouring for LeGrand was enormous. As he remained in intensive care, the Rutgers community adopted a single word to show its support -- believe.

"It's a belief that Eric's going to heal, Eric's going to walk again, Eric's going to be his old self," said Schiano.

It's because he believes that Eric keeps fighting.

"I believe that I will walk one day. I believe it," LeGrand said. "God has a plan for me and I know it's not to be sitting here all the time. I know he has something planned better for me."

That belief has not wavered. Six days after surgery, he first moved his shoulders. By early November, he transferred to a rehabilitation facility less than an hour from the Rutgers campus to begin his recovery. Still breathing on a ventilator when he arrived, he asked doctors to remove it for the first time during Thanksgiving week.

"The doctor said I might be able to breathe for a minute. A minute," he said. "I lasted an hour and a half."

"He went through the night, the next day, and that was it," said his mother. "He was done. He says, 'I don't want it, I don't need it.' And he was breathing on his own just fine."

Those 90 minutes were the beginning of the rest of his life.

"Right now," Karen LeGrand said, "I believe he's got sensation everywhere. Everywhere. Everywhere, yes. His arms, his legs, his feet. He has sensation everywhere."

LeGrand now stands for 40 minutes at a time. And when he sits, it's often in front of a computer as he works toward his degree via Skype.

He has a job providing color commentary for Rutgers football games on the radio -- a dream of his since he was a boy.

But LeGrand's legacy lies not just in what he's done for himself. At Rutgers, he's the essence of the team's mantra: believe.

"Believe. Believe. Believe," Karen LeGrand said. "It means we believe that he is going to be OK."

He might just get there. On Saturday, he will be one step closer when he leads the Rutgers' Scarlet Knights onto the field in his wheelchair -- his first trip through the team's entry tunnel since that fateful fall Saturday.

He isn't giving up on making that trip on his own two feet.

"Leading that team out of the tunnel ... oh man ... it brings chills down my spine," he said.

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