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Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand getting treatment after colliding with Army's Malcolm Brown (Mel Evans/AP)
During Saturday's Rutgers-Army game, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was injured while trying to make a tackle during a kickoff return towards the end of the game. He was motionless for seven minutes and taken to Hackensack University Medical Center, and yesterday, the school announced that the 20-year-old has no movement below the neck. His family issued a statement, "We want to say thank you to everyone for all of your prayers, kind words, and well wishes. We appreciate every single thought. Eric is in good spirits and we are praying for a full recovery."
According to Rutgers, LeGrand's injury was at the C3 and C4 level of his spinal cord; CNN explained, "Generally, the higher up on the spine an injury occurs, the more the nervous system is affected. LeGrand's injury occurred in the middle of the neck. Doctors said Monday that with many spinal cord injuries, the first 72 hours after surgery give a good indication of how much function a patient may recover." Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said yesterday, "Eric's spirits were as good as you could expect and he was cognizant of me being there and his mom and everybody. I saw him before and after surgery. He's a fighter." Via the Star-Ledger, here's video of the injury (warning: it's graphic):
|Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand carted off on backboard with neck injury|
However, teammates were "visibly shaken" when speaking with reporters about visiting LeGrand. Khaseem Greene said, "It was bad. You don't want to see your brother like that. But at the same time, I needed that. We needed that. We didn't talk to him. We let him rest. The main focus was just to see him," and Scott Vallone, LeGrand's best friend, said, "I told him that I loved him. "He acknowledged I was there. His eyes opened up pretty wide. It was good. He's going to make it. I know his personality.''
A Rutgers student told ABC News that hearing about LeGrand's injury was upsetting, "This year has been really tough. Every time I look up Rutgers is in the national headlines for the wrong reasons... You wouldn't expect either event to happen here. There's kind of a feeling here like what else can happen to us?"