A Rutgers defensive tackle was paralyzed below the neck following a collision with an Army player last night. Eric LeGrand, a junior from New Jersey, underwent emergency surgery and was in intensive care after the top of his helmet slammed into the other player’s left shoulder on Saturday, the New York Times reports. "Eric’s spirits were as good as you can expect,” said his coach. “He’s a fighter.”
“We’re going to believe,” the coach added. “Eric LeGrand is going to walk onto that field with us.” The medical director for Princeton Brain and Spine Care said the 6-foot, 2-inch player's chances of walking again depend "on whether the spinal cord has been bruised or severed, and how badly. This is one level below where Christopher Reeve had his injury," he added, referring to the injury to LeGrand's C-3 and C-4 vertebrae, which control the diaphragm and upper body muscles. "If it is a permanent injury, it’s too early to say right now. Miracles can happen." The NFL yesterday saw its own series of blows to players’ heads, including one between Detroit Lions linebacker Zack Follett and a Giants player that forced Follett to leave the field on a backboard.