Eric LeGrand will have his Rutgers University No. 52 jersey retired, a first in the 144-year history of the football program.
LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down and has been in a wheelchair since he suffered a spinal cord injury while making a special teams tackle in a game against Army on Oct. 16, 2010. Rutgers has never retired a number since it hosted the first intercollegiate football game against Princeton on Nov. 6, 1869.
“What an honor,” LeGrand, 22, said last night on his Twitter account. “This means the world to me.”
LeGrand’s number will be retired Sept. 14 when the Scarlet Knights play Eastern Michigan at High Point Solutions Stadium in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
“Through his career and now beyond it, where he’s still a huge and a daily part of our program while he still continues to work towards graduation, he is somebody who is special to us at Rutgers and special to me as a coach and a friend,” said coach Kyle Flood.
LeGrand, who is entering his third season as a member of the Rutgers Radio Network, has set a goal to walk again.
“I told him, ‘I know you’re going to do that,”’ Flood said. “And when you do it, I’m going to unretire your jersey. And then that number will become a significant number in our program again to be worn only on special occasions and by certain people. There’s no doubt in my mind that that day will come.”