Rutgers football coach's donation dedicates rehab room to former player Eric LeGrand

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Eric LeGrand surprised with special honor thanks to former coach
A spinal cord treatment room at Hackensack Meridian JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute was named for Eric LeGrand.

EDISON, New Jersey (WABC) -- A spinal cord treatment room at Hackensack Meridian JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute was named for a former college football player who suffered a devastating injury on the field more than a decade ago.

Rutgers University football coach Gregory Schiano and his wife, Christy, donated $250,000 to have the room named in Eric LeGrand's honor.

The room is located at Hackensack Meridian JFK University Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey.

The Eric LeGrand Spinal Cord Injury Patient Care Room was unveiled to LeGrand as a surprise. He thought he was just paying a routine visit but it was much more than that.

Schiano said his family thinks of LeGrand as a son.

"When you were a player and you were playing the game, everyone could count on E as being the Energizer Bunny, it was hot, people were tired, he was the guy that got everybody up, and guess what? You do that 100 fold, maybe 1,000 fold now," Schiano said.

The room named in his honor will be beneficial for anyone who suffers a spinal cord injury.

His mother said her son was completely shocked by the honor.

LeGrand credits the hospital for saving his life a couple of times over past two years. But he is a young man with a tremendous spirit that continues to inspire others and having his name on the wall will encourage other patients to stay strong.

"I'm so excited for the people that will be able to get to use that room because it will help them through the rehabilitation process," LeGrand said.

LeGrand was making a tackle for Rutgers University on October 16, 2010, when he suffered a career-ending spinal cord injury after colliding with a player, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.

The defensive tackle was carted off the field and on the way to the hospital within seven minutes, staying conscious the entire time.

Thanks to rehab and top of the line treatment, he has regained some movement.

Hackensack Meridian JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute is a 94-bed facility "that offers the state's most comprehensive rehabilitation services to restore function and quality of life to those with physical impairments or disabilities."

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