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Eric LeGrand    

Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand who was paralyzed in a 2010 game, now sees his arduous and inspirational road back as a blessing

Many who survive a traumatic injury have no recollection of their accident. Not so with Eric LeGrand, the former Rutgers football player who was left paralyzed from the neck down after a tackle in a game against Army on October 16, 2010. In his inspiring biography, Believe: The Victorious Story of Eric LeGrand (Harper Collins), LeGrand shares his memories of that fateful moment, as well as his experience realizing his dream as a Scarlet Knight and the challenges of his post-accident existence.

LeGrand’s life changed when he hit Army ball carrier Malcolm Brown late in the fourth quarter. “I was set to throw my shoulder into his midsection,” LeGrand writes,“...but Brown had been spun a bit. Instead of hitting him in the chest with my shoulder—where I was aiming—my helmet rammed into the back of his left shoulder, striking his collarbone.”

Taking audiences through the rollercoaster of rehabilitation, LeGrand describes the inner strength required to keep moving forward and his determination to walk again. Rutgers fans will recall LeGrand leading the team out of the tunnel on October 29, 2011, which was also named the Sports Illustrated "Best Moment of 2011", but they might not know that a freak snowstorm almost cancelled his appearance. It is risky for LeGrand to be exposed to extreme cold (his body can no longer regulate temperature), and using a wheelchair in snow presents its own dangers. But LeGrand persevered: “With all the adversity I’ve been through, how can I not go ahead?...I knew I could handle a little snow.”

Since the injury, LeGrand continues to work towards his goal of walking again. He now sits up on his own and regularly uses an arm bike as part of his rehab. In addition, he completed his degree in labor studies from Rutgers and also co-hosted a midweek radio show with first-year Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood during the 2012 season. He will continue to do television work as he transitions to broadcasting.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now coached by LeGrand's former head coach at Rutgers, Greg Schiano, signed him to an honorary contract in May of 2012, fulfilling his lifelong dream of 'making it' to the NFL.

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