Rutgers Defensive Tackle Paralyzed After Game Injury - NBC New York

Rutgers Defensive Tackle Paralyzed After Game Injury



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    Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (52) is treated on the field after colliding with Army's Malcolm Brown (23) as he tried to make the tackle during the second half of a football game Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, in East Rutherford, N.J. LeGrand was hurt on the play and taken off on a backboard from the field. Rutgers won 23-20 in overtime. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    A Rutgers University defensive tackle suffered a spinal-cord injury during the Scarlet Knights' overtime victory over Army on Saturday, and currently has no movement below  his neck, school officials said today.

    Eric LeGrand underwent emergency surgery last night and into this morning to stabilize his spine in the C3-C4 level of the spinal cord, according to a statement from the school. At this time, LeGrand has no movement below his neck.
    LeGrand is currently resting in the intensive care unit at a Hackensack hospital, the school said.

    "We want to say thank you to everyone for all of your prayers, kind words, and well wishes," the LeGrand family said in a statement. "We appreciate every single thought. Eric is in good spirits and we are praying for a full recovery."
    At a press conference this morning, LeGrand's teammates said it was tough but they would rally around their pal.
    "When I see him I might tell him how much I love him" said senior linebacker Antonio Lowery.

    "Eric, his family and the Rutgers Football family believe he will recover," said Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano. "We ask our fans and the entire Rutgers community to believe and pray for Eric as he begins the recovery process."
    LeGrand lay on the field for about five minutes after making the tackle with the game tied at 17 and 5:10 to play.

    Schiano told the players that there will be a schedule for them to see Eric.

    "I have to lead by example," team captain Charlie Noonan.

    Moments after LeGrand went down, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano went over and talked to his family in the stands, and later appeared in the post-game interview room with red eyes, looking as if he had been crying. He said he was going to the hospital after his interviews.

    "It's all tough stuff, yes," Schiano said. "When you coach these kids, they're your kids. That is the thing I don't know if everybody gets. It's not pro football. Those are your kids. You're raising them. You're finishing the job for their parents, so it's tough."

    LeGrand, an Avenel resident who played at Colonia High School, was injured making a tackle on Malcolm Brown at the Army 25. He seemed to move his head immediately after the play but did not move after that as trainers from Rutgers (4-2) rushed the field to attend to him.

    Players from both teams took a knee while LeGrand was being treated.