Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand's return to the field was voted by fans as the Best Moment of 2011.
Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand's return to the football field a year after becoming paralyzed in a game was voted by fans as Sports Illustrated's 2011 Moment of the Year.
LeGrand, a former defensive tackle who was paralyzed in a 2010 game against Army, led the Scarlet Knights out of the tunnel in the rain before their October 2011 game against West Virginia University.
The emotional return was chosen by voters from 178 countries, beating moments involving a world-renowned soccer star, a professional surfer and Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit to gain the top spot.
Since he suffered his severe spinal injury, paralyzing him from the neck down, LeGrand has made major progress in his quest to walk again.
NBC New York was there last week
as he sat up in his rehabilitation center for 23 seconds -- a "milestone" for the player, said a therapist.
Rutgers University created the "Believe" foundation
, with the proceeds going to LeGrand and his family throughout his recovery.