Rutgers’s LeGrand Taken off Ventilator 5 Weeks After Paralysis

Eric LeGrand, a junior on the Rutgers University football team who suffered a spinal cord injury during a college game last month, has been removed from a ventilator and can breathe on his own.

The 20-year-old defensive tackle from Avenel, New Jersey, was paralyzed from the neck down in an Oct. 16 game against Army while making a tackle on special teams. The injury recently was reclassified to incomplete from complete, meaning that LeGrand had not suffered a complete loss of function below the damaged area, Rutgers said in a statement on its athletics website.

“We want to thank everyone for all the love and support for Eric, it has really been beneficial to his recovery,” the LeGrand family said in the statement. “Please continue to keep Eric in your prayers.”

LeGrand is in rehabilitation at the Kessler Institute in West Orange, New Jersey. He recently was visited by former Penn State University defensive back Adam Taliaferro, who also suffered a spinal cord injury while playing football in 2000, the statement said.