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Eric LeGrand to Make West Orange Appearance July 19

Cynthia Cumming

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 • 11:31pm

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Eric LeGrand, the former Rutgers Football star who was seriously injured during a game v. Army on on October 16, 2010, will make an appearance as part of Team Kessler at the Center's 24-hour fundraising and awareness event "Walk to Victory over Paralysis," scheduled from 9 a.m. Saturday, July 19, through 9 a.m. Sunday, July 20, 2014.

Kessler Foundation and Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, part of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundations's NeuroRecovery Network, are spearheading the event and will split the proceeds from the fundraiser.

LeGrand was a junior at Rutgers and a rising football star when Coach Greg Schiano moved him into the defensive lineman position.  On a kickoff to Army, LeGrand collided with the ball carrier, Malcolm Brown. LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down and was transferred to Kessler Rehabilitation, where after months of intensive therapy has regained some sensation and mobility. In 2011, he posted Twitter photos of himself standing up straight assisted by a specialized metal frame and announced he was slowly regaining movement and sensation in his arms. 

“Activity-based therapy and exercise is essential for someone who has experienced a spinal cord injury,” said Susan J. Harkema, PhD, NeuroRecovery Network Director for the Reeve Foundation, Director of Research at Frazier Rehab Institute, Professor and Rehabilitation Research Director at the University of Louisville Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center and Owsley B. Frazier Chair in Clinical Rehabilitation Research. “We have so much more information today about recovery that is helping people lead healthier and more functional lives, and improving their overall quality of life.”

LeGrand continues his rigorous therapy program three days a week. He also participates in the NRN’s locomotor training program at Kessler, where he is harnessed over a treadmill while therapists move his legs in a walking motion in an effort to retrain his nervous system. In therapy, he is regaining balance and strength. Since his injury, LeGrand graduated from Rutgers University and has become an author, motivational speaker, sports radio broadcaster and retired player of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

LeGrand's optimism, resilience, and strength of spirit earned him a spot in the New Jersey Hall of Fame in June 2012, when he was presented the Unsung Hero Award.

For a complete list of all participating sites or to donate, please visit the Walk to Victory Over Paralysis website at: www.ChristopherReeve.org/Victory2014.

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