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Rutgers' LeGrand honored in West Orange

March 29, 2011 8:22:25 PM PDT
Eric LeGrand, a Rutgers football player who was paralyzed during a game last year, was honored by the Township of West Orange.

"I will walk again. Keep praying, keep praying," Eric LeGrand said.

It's more than believing in miracles, Eric LeGrand makes you believe in the human spirit to persevere.

After months of grueling rehab and recovery at Kessler Institute, that spirit got him back home Tuesday night, but not before being recognized by the Township of West Orange.

Its mayor and council declared March 29th "Eric LeGrand Day."

"I've met a lot of great people. I want to thank Monica and her staff. I want to thank Rutgers. I really appreciate all the support. It's really a blessing, and I thank everyone," LeGrand said.

The 6-foot-2, 275 pound Rutgers junior was paralyzed from the neck down after making a tackle at a Rutgers football game on October 16th.

It took nine hours of emergency surgery to stabilize the defensive tackle's spine.

Doctors initially gave him a 0-to-5% chance of regaining neurologic function.

Six days later, he moved his shoulders.

Then in early November, he was taken off a ventilator and breathed on his own.

And in mid-December, LeGrand had another breakthrough; he had sensation in his hands.

"Just like coach preaches that a football game has four quarters and you have to keep chopping. It's the same thing in life. Anything is possible you got to keep working hard. You got to believe. And I just want you to know that the West Orange family believes and we're with you," Councilmember Victor Cirilo said.

LeGrand's number one believer has been his mother from the sideline to his bedside.

"I just want to say thank you to everybody, and hopefully, like Eric says, he will walk again," LeGrand's mother said.

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