On Saturday, the Rutgers University football team will do something it has never done before — retire a player’s jersey.
The team will hold a special halftime ceremony during their game against Eastern Michigan to retire the No. 52 jersey of Eric LeGrand, according to USA Today Sports. LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck on Oct. 16, 2010 while making a tackle on kickoff coverage against Army, and over the last three years he’s served as an inspiration and symbol of perseverance not just to the Scarlet Knights, but to people all over the country.
“There is so much emotion going on just with what he did for this program, what he’s been through and how he is fighting because of the strength he has within him,” redshirt senior Quron Pratt said. “It’s so emotional in the locker room. It’s so quiet. Everybody feeds off one another around him.”
LeGrand will deliver a message to the team before the game, with appreciation being his central message.
“Appreciate what you have and how blessed [you] are to have this opportunity,” LeGrand said. “Don’t take it for granted. I am a prime example. Play every play like it’s your last because you never know when it is. I’m the living example of that.”
LeGrand works as a radio analyst on Rutgers football broadcasts, and hasn’t made a public appearance at High Point Solution Stadium since he led the team out of the pregame tunnel in his motorized wheelchair on Oct. 29, 2011.
In May, LeGrand was able to move back into his home three years after his accident as the house was completely rebuilt and equipped with bigger doorways, automatic doors, elevators and aluminum tracks to help him get around.
Photo via Facebook/Eric LeGrand