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July 12, 2012 @ 9:08 pm
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LeGrand Takes Home The Jimmy V Award

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Eric LeGrand amazing journey since paralysis in October of 2010, took another step forward as the insipirational Buccaneer won the Jimmy V Award given by the sports network ESPN during their annual ESPY show Wednesday night.
Say what you want about ESPN’s annual – and sometimes over the top – ESPY Awards, but Wednesday night the network honored former Rutgers and current Buccaneers defensive linemen Eric LeGrand with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. Anyone with a heart was touched once again by the inspirational role model – especially those facing a lifetime of challenges.

LeGrand, who played college football for new Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano at Rutgers,  was attempting to make a routine tackle on a kickoff against Army back in October 2010. LeGrand made the hit, but as his body sprawled out across the 25-yard line, he knew something was wrong.

“It was like a flash grenade went off,” LeGrand said. “Everything went silent and in slow motion for a minute. I tried to get up and I couldn’t move. I just blacked out.”

When LeGrand awoke in the ICU doctors explained he had fractured his C-3 and C-4 vertebrae and was facing a lifetime of paralysis and a ventilator to do his breathing.

Through dedication, hard work and maybe even something from powers unknown, LeGrand has made remarkable strides and not only has he been able to come off of the ventilator, he now can briefly stand using the aid of a brace.

After a moving video tribute during Wednesday night’s broadcast, LeGrand was introduced by actor Rob Lowe. As LeGrand came down the stage in his wheelchair the entire crowd in attendance at the Nokia Theatre stood to their feet, greeting him with a thunderous standing ovation. As tears flowed freely, LeGrand soaked in the love and respect from the crowd, scanning the theatre with his ever-present smile.

As LeGrand recounted that fateful afternoon he told the crowd, “Coach Schiano said “You have to pray Eric.’”

LeGrand went on to thank his family, the doctors that treated him and those that continue to work with him on a daily basis to achieve his goal of walking across the turf of a football field once again. LeGrand told the crowd in the pre-award video montage, that one day he wants to go back to the field where he was injured, lie back down, then stand up and walk off the field on his own just as he wanted to that day in 2010.

Doctors have been amazed at LeGrand’s progress, and while no one – other than LeGrand – is willing to say that he will in fact walk again, no one is betting against him.

Last modified on Thursday, 12 July 2012 21:16

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  • avatar

    I'm sorry to not been able to watch that moment on National TV and a great Honor. I hope that this will inspires all the fans in Tampa to support this young man and the bucs in 2012. I hope they sellout all games. And go back tot he playoffs. If two years Tampa won 10 How about with the new Talent all around the field. How about Tampa shuts down all the teams in the league and go undefeated and win it all. WHY NOT.They didit in 2002, why not in 2013. GO BUCS. I WILL BE WATCHING FROM MY HOME IN ALBA,TEXAS> AHAIN I GREWUP AND WENT TO SCHOOL IN TAMPA> GO BUCS
  • avatar

    Nice article Mark, Eric is an inspiration to us all. However, my guess is that if you asked him, he would tell you the the "unknown power" you refer to is his Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
  • avatar

    I really hope and pray that the good Lord allows this kid to be able to walk again some day...maybe he'll never be able to do it without some kind of assistance like a cane etc; but I sure do hope he's able to "get er dun"...on a side note, I think it speaks volumes and reinforces the fact that Coach Schiano is a top tier character guy to tell Legrand that he needed to pray...no doubt in my mind that as soon as he said that to him, he most likely followed up by praying with him.GO BUCS!!!!! And here's to you Eric...may you keep on keeping on!!!!!
  • avatar

    What a great moment that will be when he walks off that field! I wear my 52 jersey with great pride and humility.
  • avatar

    Let me tell you that as a person who suffered the same injury (fractured C3/C4), that Eric LeGrande is a hero to me. By some miracle, I was lucky enough to not be paralyzed or suffer any extreme disabilities. Doctor said he didnt know how my spinal cord stayed intact... I watched the broadcast and thought how I could have been in his same situation. This young man is an inspiration to so many people and especially to myself. I will be picking up his jersey and showing support at home games this season. Hope I see plenty of others doing the same. Leh Go #52! Leh Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    What a great example for people with disabilities to help guide them in their recoveries. Us Humans can be kind, thoughtful, and loving among each other.
  • avatar

    That's just awesome!
  • avatar

    An inspiration to any of us who break into a chorus of "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" if we stub our toe............on the line of course.
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