Eric LeGrand to receive Valvano award at ESPYs
Paralyzed Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand has been selected
to receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYS next
LeGrand suffered a spinal cord injury in a game against Army in
2010. Initially told he would be a quadriplegic and would remain on
a ventilator, the defensive tackle is now breathing on his own and
can stand upright with the aid of a metal frame.
LeGrand has vowed to walk again.
The Jimmy V Award is given to someone in sports who has overcome
great obstacles through perseverance and determination. It is named
for Jim Valvano, the North Carolina State coach who gave an
emotional acceptance speech at the 1993 ESPYS that included his
famous words ”Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”
”I can relate to that because I am never giving up in my
situation,” LeGrand said in a telephone interview with The
Associated Press, ”I am never giving up in my situation. I know I
will fight through it. Now getting this, this is a dream come true,
especially on the 20th anniversary of the ESPYS. I was even
thinking about it last year, thinking that could be me.”
LeGrand plans to make the trip to Los Angles for the award
presentation on July 11.
While travel isn’t easy, LeGrand made a recent trip to Tampa,
Fla., to spend a day with the Buccaneers and Greg Schiano. The
former Rutgers coach and current Bucs leader signed LeGrand to an
NFL contract after the draft in a heartwarming gesture.
Since suffering the injury, LeGrand has remained remarkably
positive. He has been aggressive with his rehabilitation, resumed
his studies and works as an analyst on the pre-game, halftime and
postgame radio broadcasts of Rutgers games. He also will have a
weekly show on Wednesday during the season with new Scarlet Knights
coach Kyle Flood.
LeGrand admitted there are moments when he gets down, but they
”I have so much going on with my life, so many things that have
happened, amazing things that I could only dream about,” LeGrand
said. ”When I go to therapy every day, I look at people who don’t
have as much support as I have or are not getting the opportunities
that I am getting, so how could I complain about anything.
”I have the whole world behind me now pushing for me. There is
nothing for me to complain about. I have to keep fighting and
getting better and help find a cure for this injury for many other
people who are fighting to get back on their feet.”
The 21-year-old New Jersey resident also says every time he
looks on Facebook or Twitter, there are people offering him
”How can I get down when I am motivating all these people in
the world,” he said. ”I see this as a responsibility to show that
miracles can happen.”
LeGrand would like to say when he will walk again ”but I know
it will happen and this will happen for a reason, and I will get up
off this chair and walk again.”