Rutgers lineman paralyzed from neck down

Andrew Baker

Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand is paralyzed from the neck down after a spinal cord injury suffered in the Scarlet Knights’ 23-20 overtime win over Army on Saturday, the Associated Press reported Sunday.

The injury occurred with 5:10 remaining in the fourth quarter when LeGrand tackled Malcolm Brown on a kickoff return. LeGrand lay on the field for several minutes while being treated by medical personnel, according to the story. 

Doctors at Hackensack University Medical Center performed emergency surgery Saturday night to try and stabilize LeGrand’s spine. LeGrand will remain in the hospital’s intensive care unit for the time being. 

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano spent time with LeGrand and Legrand’s mother and teammates at the hospital. “Eric’s spirits were as good as you could expect,” Schiano said. “He was cognizant of me being there and his mom and everybody.” 

LeGrand played at Colonia High School, 15 minutes from Piscataway, NJ. LeGrand’s injury evoked memories of Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett, who in 2007 was also paralyzed from the neck down after making a tackle. Everett has recovered, and is again able to walk. Whether LeGrand can make a similar recovery is yet unknown. “I saw him before surgery and after surgery,” Schiano said, “and he’s a fighter.”