"I don't ask why this happened. The answer will come when I'm walking again and have helped a lot of other people along the way."
The first thing you notice about Eric LeGrand is his smile. It's a warm, engaging smile that reflects a quiet maturity and deep inner strength.
It also belies a fierce determination to overcome a devastating spinal cord injury.
During a Rutgers University football game, Eric, a standout defenseman, tackled an opposing player then fell to the ground motionless. He was rushed to Hackensack University Medical Center, where doctors diagnosed a C3-C4 injury.
Paralyzed from his neck down and on a ventilator, Eric was not about to be defeated. When he was well enough, he was transferred to Kessler's Center for Spinal Cord Rehabilitation for an intensive program. He believed that he would beat the odds and breathe on his own. He believed that he would regain sensation and function. And he believes that one day he will walk.
Eric focuses on these goals with an athlete's discipline and a champion's spirit, pushing himself hard and never questioning "why." He's benefitted from advanced treatment, including participating in the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Neuro-Recovery Network at Kessler, along with the unwavering support of his family and a legion of fans across the country.
While Eric continues his studies at Rutgers, he has embarked on the next stage of his career: sports analyst covering college football on TV and radio. "My dream was to play professionally and then go into broadcasting. And while I may not be in uniform, I'll always be in the game."
Learn more about Kessler's Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program.