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Eric LeGrand Gives Inspiring Presentation

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Eric LeGrand is surrounded by Buzz Aldrin students celebrating the week of respect.

Eric LeGrand, a Colonia High School graduate and former defensive tackle for Rutgers University who suffered a spinal cord injury during a football game in October 2010 that left him paralyzed, gave an inspiring presentation at Buzz Aldrin Middle School on Thurs., Oct 3 in support of the Week of Respect. Following a brief video presentation, LeGrand took the stage to an overwhelming ovation and a sea of Rutgers red. He told his story to the captive audience, from the moments leading up to his injury to the weeks, months and years that have followed.

He detailed his stays in the hospital and rehab centers, sharing a painful memory in which a young girl in the bed next to him did not survive. But it was a turning point for him. “At that moment I said, ‘I’m alive. God gave me another chance. I still have fight in me. I’m going to do great things because I’m blessed. It changed my perspective.”

LeGrand used that recollection to challenge students: “What are you appreciative of? What do you take for granted?” Think about how blessed and how fortunate you are. Think about what you can do for others.”

In keeping with the theme of respect, LeGrand expressed how he received support from friends and family, and even strangers, from day one, and stressed the importance of being kind to others. “Instead of putting someone else down, try lifting them up,” he said. “It’s a lot better feeling to help someone than it is to hurt someone.”

While doctors have told him he’ll never walk again, LeGrand remains optimistic and committed to working toward his goal of returning to MetLife Stadium where the injury happened, to “lay down on the field and this time, get back up again.” Until then, LeGrand is on a mission to inspire as many people possible. “You’re going to deal with adversity in your lifetime. It’s how you handle it that defines you. You can run away from it, or you can face it head on. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something,” he said. “Success is the peace of mind you get knowing that you did everything you could to be the best you can be.”

Below, alone on the stage, LeGrand inspires the entire school body.

Updated: 10/10/2018