Eric LeGrand: Still bELieving in Miracles

Eric LeGrand - Believe

Two years ago today Eric LeGrand probably began his day as any other. As a Rutgers University defensive lineman, he was most likely getting hyped for his game against Army. He had no idea the impact one play that day would have on his destiny. On a kick-off return Eric tackled the runner with the football and then fell motionless to the turf. That tackle fractured his C3 and C4 cervical vertebrae and started his new journey in a wheelchair.

For those of us who have played football, that is one of the risks we all acknowledge as part of the game. And yet we still play for the love of the game. Football is and has been a big part of my immediate and extended families. Almost all the men in our family, from my father to brothers, son, nephews, and cousins have played football at some level.

That Saturday two years ago, my wife, son and I were watching the college games. When we saw that Rutgers tackle, we all had that sick feeling it wasn’t going to turn out good. We each said prayers as we watched the medical staff on the field working on Eric.

The doctors initially told Eric’s mother, Karen, that her son would most likely never breathe on his own, never eat solid food, and of course never walk again. But GOD had other plans! Within five weeks Eric was breathing on his own and has been making small strides ever since. Doctors have been so amazed that he has become a worldwide case study.

Eric spends four hours, five days a week at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, NJ doing intensive physical therapy. A grueling hour on the treadmill followed by floor exercises for balance and strength training are part of the daily routine that require mental toughness and concentration that most with his level of injury could not tolerate.

The hour on the treadmill is part of the locomotor training therapy where Eric is harnessed over a treadmill while therapists move Eric’s legs in a walking motion. That repetitive movement is designed to improve his mobility and retrain his nervous system.

When Eric started the locomotor training last year in October, he had no movement or sensation below his neck. Through his faith, positive attitude, and hard work, Eric can now hold his head without a headrest, move his shoulders as he speaks, and can sit and balance himself for minutes at a time. He is even feeling sensation in his hands and toes.

In an interview with ESPN Eric said, “I believe I was put here to show that miracles do happen on this earth, through hard work, dedication and faith. That’s what I think my destiny is, to inspire millions along my way as I go through this and get back up on my feet.”

What else has Eric been doing these past two years? Let’s see… how about these:
1. Completing his degree in Labor Studies at Rutgers
2. On air broadcasting for Rutgers Radio
3. On the cover of Sports Illustrated
4. Drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then retired to make room for others on their roster
5. Presented with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPYs
6. Presented with the Unsung Hero Award by the New Jersey Hall of Fame
7. Named the most influential person in NJ sports by The Star-Ledger
8. Named ambassador for Kessler Foundation
9. Traveling the country inspiring others to overcome challenges.

In addition to the above, Eric has just completed his first book, “Believe: My Faith and the Tackle that Changed My Life.” If you want a book to inspire and encourage you to keep going no matter the challenges you face, this is one you should read.

In another interview Eric stated, “Every day, I just look to the people for inspiration. I go on my Facebook and Twitter pages and read all the nice things that people say to me. I take it as a responsibility to show them that miracles really do happen in this world and they’ll see that when I get out of this chair. All I need people to do is just believe in me and know that anything is possible.”

Well, Eric, I bELieve in you and in our Almighty God who is guiding you on your journey.

 

What’s the first thing Eric will do when he walks again? Check it out in this interview recently with ESPN.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyYFI3qrrzU
Let’s send Eric some of that encouragement and inspiration he so readily gives to others!!
Subscribe to Eric’s FB page: http://www.facebook.com/EricLeGrand52
Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EricLeGrand52

Be blessed!
James

 

 

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