Former football defense tackle, Eric LeGrand, had not only had momentum on the field - but in his life.
A star athlete and crucial performer at Rutgers University (of the BIG 10, the oldest Division 1 Sports Conference in the country), Eric had a very clear vision for his life. That vision, coupled with the drive he’d possessed since a young age, would surely garner him a spot in the NFL.
In October of 2010, during his junior season, Eric collided with the ball carrier from the opposing team (Army), and severed his spinal cord in an injury that would ultimately render him permanently paralyzed from the neck down. While a gurney escorted him off the field at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, he tried to give the crowd a ‘thumbs up’ – signaling, as many athletes do, that he’ll be alright.
Eric, sadly, was unable to perform the gesture.
“Everything happens for a reason. Everyone comes from different walks of life,” Eric tells us, seated in his impressively high-tech wheelchair, as he can no longer actually walk.
Since his injury, Eric has gone on to achieve more in his life than most – including awards, success as a motivational speaker, and – as fate would have it – a spot in the NFL after all.
In these ways and many more, Eric has given us all a proverbial ‘thumbs up.’
Eric joins For the Hayters to share with us his life since the accident, and advice on how to remain positive. He assures us it starts, and ends, with support from the people around him:
“Lean on your relationships,” advises Eric. “Have that conversation. You never know where it may take you.”
Don’t miss a very special installment of our Bring Your Own Chair series. Tune in April 3rdto learn more about Eric LeGrand’s story, and how he helps shape others’, too.