Chicken Soup for the Sole: Eric LeGrand

Football is a dangerous sport, and nobody knows that fact better than former Rutgers star Eric LeGrand. After suffering a serious spinal cord injury during a game, doctors gave LeGrand less than a 5% chance of ever walking again. However, Eric LeGrand refused to let the grim diagnosis stop him from making a comeback that continues to inspire scores of people to this day.

Eric LeGrand: Star Football Player

After a successful high school career in his home state of New Jersey, LeGrand chose to stay close to home by enrolling in Rutgers University. As a true freshman, LeGrand made his first appearance on special teams against North Carolina, but by the next season his coach decided to move him to the defensive line. LeGrand continued to rack up tackles thanks to his speed and tenacity, and as his junior season unfolded it was clear that he had become a major contributor to the Rutgers defense.

Injury and Comeback

Disaster struck LeGrand during a game against Army in October of 2010. During a kickoff return, LeGrand collided with the ball carrier and severely injured his spinal cord, resulting in paralysis. He wasn’t even able to lift his arm to give a thumbs-up to the crowd, and once he got to the hospital, the diagnosis was grim. He was put on a respirator, and was told that he would not only need it to breathe for the rest of his life, it was highly unlikely that he’d ever walk again. However, even from his hospital bed, LeGrand refused to give up: he told his mother that he’d “be back.” Not long after his injury, he began to learn how to breathe without the respirator and eventually regained sensation and some movement.


Thanks to his inspirational story and never-say-die attitude, LeGrand was given the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance by ESPN, among other awards. After announcing his retirement from football in 2012, LeGrand earned his degree from Rutgers and had his number retired by the team. His story continues to inspire people who are struggling with physical challenges, and shows that no obstacle is too big to conquer.

My name is Jessica Cox, and I believe that no obstacle or physical difference is insurmountable if you keep your faith and determination strong. If you’re interested in allowing me to help the attendees at your convention, meeting, or faith-based gathering discover their hidden strengths and learn to live their best possible life, please call me at 520-505-1359 or contact me on my website.