Faith. Determination. Inspiration. This is the foundation on which Eric LeGrand’s life is currently shaped upon. His career as a motivational speaker and sports analyst might strike others as overwhelming, but to LeGrand it’s all part of his diving purpose. During his tenure at Rutgers University in 2010, he enjoyed playing the game of football as a defensive tackle. But after a severe spinal injury (from an intense collision during a game at MetLife Stadium), which dramatically changed his life, LeGrand found himself wondering if he’d ever recapture that kind of success on the field.
Through triumph and tragedy, Eric’s road to recovery has been less than effortless. Having undergone a nine-hour emergency surgery procedure to stabilize his spine as well as a rigorous rehabilitation process, he has regained movement in his shoulders and sensation throughout his body. With that, he resumed his college classes via Skype and graduated from Rutgers University (2014) with a degree in Labor Relations. Not only did he graduate with honors, but he also gave a commemorative speech during the commencement ceremony. He has recently launched his sports broadcasting career as an analyst for Rutgers Football Radio Network.
With courage and grace, Eric has been honored with a plethora of awards and accolades throughout his recovery process, which include the “Unsung Hero Award” (2012) presented by the New Jersey Hall of Fame, the “Jimmy V Award” for Perseverance at the 20th Annual ESPYs (2012), and being elected as the “Most Influential Person in New Jersey Sports” presented by the Star Ledger (2012). On September 14, 2013, Rutgers hosted a ceremony, which retired the No. 52 jersey that belonged to Eric. Eric’s jersey was the first number to be retired by Rutgers in the history of their program.
In awe of the unwavering support, Eric’s story continues to touch numerous lives. Eric released his first book in the fall of 2012, titled BELIEVE: My Faith And The Tackle That Changed my Life (HarperCollins Publishers). He also signed an official NFL contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (by his former Rutgers coach, Greg Schiano).
Eric quickly became an advocate for individuals that are affected with spinal cord Injuries and disorders. Fueled with passion, LeGrand decided to form Team LeGrand of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Established in 2013, the proceeds generated from the charity go toward research to find a cure for paralysis and help to improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries.
Eric recently hosted the fourth annual “A Walk to Believe: One Step Closer With Team LeGrand” at Rutgers HighPoint Stadium. Key industry leaders such as Subway, AmeriHealth, Robert Wood Johnson and many more sponsored this event. Destroying the original goal of raising 52K, A Walk to Believe raised over 65K.
Having been afforded to see the world and taste the fullness of life, he has partnered and reveled in the company of notable celebrities such as Jay-Z, Beyoncé, LeBron James, Tim Howard, Jessica Alba, Rob Lowe and countless others. He also has a business partnership with the Jordan Brand, in which he is working on a documentary about his life slated for 2015.