Rutgers coach Greg Schiano met with his team this morning to deliver the news: Junior defensive tackle Eric LeGrand suffered a spinal cord injury and has no movement below his neck.There's video of the play at the link, but it's disturbing. It reminds me of the play on which Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett was paralyzed back in 2007. Everett never played again but was able to recover and walk again.
LeGrand, who was injured in the Scarlet Knights' 23-20 victory over Army on Saturday, underwent emergency surgery after the game at Hackensack University Medical Center. He's in the intensive care unit and will remain at the hospital for the near future.
"No one knows,'' said Schiano when asked about LeGrand's prognosis moving forward.
"Certainly, there are experts. I've done a lot of research in the last 24 hours. As I told our team, we are going to believe that Eric LeGrand is going to walk onto that field again with us.
"That's what we believe. We'll see with what speed that happens. We've had a great outpouring from across the state and from alums and fans and we just ask for their continued prayers.''
Schiano, who rushed to the hospital immediately after the game, said he spoke with LeGrand before and after the surgery.
"Eric's spirits were as good as you could expect,'' he said. "He was cognizant of me being there and his mom and everybody. He's a fighter.
"He has a new set of challenges in front of him but there's no doubt in my mind Eric LeGrand is going to look those challenges in the eye like he has all the rest of them and overcome them.''
Schiano said he spent the entire night at the hospital along with LeGrand's mother, Karen, and LeGrand's family and friends. Several players also were there as was Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti and deputy athletic director Kevin MacConnell. LeGrand is one of the most popular players on the team.
"It's a nightmare for any parent,'' said Schiano. "(LeGrand) has a great family and they were all there last night. We spent the entire night together and there are going to be a lot of nights together. They're very supportive. That's the reason he's the young man that he is.''
May God bless this young man in the fight of his life.