Rutgers University football player Eric LeGrand has been paralyzed from the neck down ever since he crashed into an Army player in a game Saturday. The question now is will the defensive tackle remain immobile.
A Page One story in The Star-Ledger Tuesday vividly described the incident that lead to the young player’s spine injury, writing that LeGrand “smashed his helmet, at full speed, into the shoulder of an Army kick returner.” LeGrand’s mother was at the game at the New Meadowlands Stadium, and watched him being injured and carried off the field.
It was a bad weekend for football head injuries, both college and pro. The story points out that five National Football League players sustained head injuries Sunday, and all five were the result of helmet-to-helmet crashes..
LeGrand, who is from Avenel, N.J., on Saturday underwent surgery on his spine. His doctors are saying that the first 72 hours after his on-field collision are crucial, and that they must wait for the swelling in his spine to go down before they can fully gauge the extent of his injuries.
Football players have recovered from spinal injuries similar to LeGrand’s. The New York Times Tuesday has a story about Adam Taliaferro, who injured is spine while playing foorball for Penn State. Doctors never thought Taliaferro would walk again, but he surprised them and did. He is a lawyer now.
But LeGrand suffered damage to his C3 and C4 cervical vertebrae, bones that are close to the brain and affect movement. But LeGrand’s coach, Greg Schiano, and his Rutger’s teammates say that he is a fighter and a great athlete, and they expect him to walk again.