By the Thousands, NJ Football Players Wear the Same Number

By Brian Thompson
|  Friday, Oct 22, 2010  |  Updated 7:01 PM EDT
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By the Thousands, NJ Football Players Wear the Same Number

NBCNewYork

A helmet with a "52" sticker on it rests on the field at Long Branch High School.

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52.

It's more than a number.

This week, in New Jersey, it stands for an outpouring of love and concern for Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers player who was left paralyzed after using his head to make a tackle in last week's game against Army.

"I could get paralyzed, I could be like #52 -- Eric, of Rutgers -- and ruin my whole future," said Jordan Rogers, an outside linebacker on the Long Branch High School football team.

Friday afternoon, just before practice, every player on the team got a sticker with the number "52" on it to place on their helmets.

"What we're gonna do today is honor him by wearing his number on our helmets," Long Branch High's Athletic Director Jason Corley told roughly 50  varsity and junior varsity players.

Similar scenes were being played out across the state, as thousands of high school football players expressed their solidarity with LeGrand.

"Definitely a wake up call, just a wake up call to everybody," said safety Steve Worsley, who said what happened to LeGrand will likely change the way he plays, "the way I come up, the way I do it."

Long Branch's Coach Dan George told NBCNewYork that none of the players said he wanted to quit the game, though many expressed fears about the dangers.

Defensive End Vincent Roselli would be one of those. "Just gives chills, makes me think twice when I go to his somebody." Roselli said.

On the Green Wave, as LBHS team is nicknamed, there is one player who wears the same number as LeGrand all season long.

Markas Moya is an offensive guard, and is proud that #52 belongs to him.

"In a way it's kind of an honor," Moya said.

Note: Late Friday, Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti, told NBCNewYork that LaGrand is talking and is in "good spirits."

However, he had no update on whether doctors think LeGrand will ever walk again. Meanwhile, Pernetti also announced the establishment of the 'Eric LeGrand Believe Fund' to support him and his family.

Donations can be sent to:

"Eric LeGrand Believe Fund"
PMC Wealth Management
Attn: Kimberly G. Kingsland, Senior Trust Advisor
One Palmer Square, Suite 201
Princeton, N.J. 08542

Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY

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