Buccaneers Sign Paralyzed Ex-Rutgers Football Player LeGrand
Eric LeGrand, the former Rutgers University football player who was paralyzed from the neck down during a 2010 game, was signed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 90- man offseason roster by coach Greg Schiano.
Schiano coached LeGrand at Rutgers, where he spent 11 seasons before being hired by the National Football League’s Buccaneers in January. The signing will help LeGrand bring attention to the issue of spinal cord injuries and the research to find a cure, the team said.
“Leading up to the draft, I couldn’t help but think that this should’ve been Eric’s draft class,” Schiano said on the Buccaneers’ website. “This small gesture is the least we could do to recognize his character, spirit, and perseverance.”
LeGrand, 21, is in a wheelchair and hasn’t walked in the 19 months since suffering a spinal-cord injury while making a special teams tackle in an Oct. 16, 2010 game against Army.
“This is honestly a blessing from above,” LeGrand wrote on his Twitter account, after posting a picture of a Buccaneers’ helmet. He also thanked the team and Schiano for their support on his Facebook page.
LeGrand, who was a junior at the time of his injury, in October started the early stages of therapy to regain the ability to walk. He also resumed his studies by computer and, from his wheelchair, led Schiano and the Rutgers football team onto the field for a 2011 home game against West Virginia.
LeGrand plans to graduate from Rutgers next fall with a degree in labor studies and has said he wants to be a sports broadcaster. He joined the Rutgers sports radio network in August and has signed with sports marketing firm IMG Worldwide to help him transition to the broadcasting booth.
“The way Eric lives his life epitomizes what we are looking for in Buccaneer Men,” Schiano said.
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