10 years after injury left him paralyzed, Eric LeGrand remains positive and busy
It has been 10 years since former Rutgers University football player Eric LeGrand’s on-field injury left him mostly paralyzed. In the time since, LeGrand has become a tireless advocate for spinal cord research and a host of other charities.
“I feel like it was just yesterday,” LeGrand says of his injury, which left him paralyzed from the neck down.
The last 10 years have seen LeGrand transform into a New Jersey icon whose persistence and attitude have inspired more people more deeply than many other athletes who still play on the field.
“My whole thing is I want to celebrate 10 years of fighting paralysis strong. Ten years of believing. We've been going through this now for 10 years and I've been able to gain so much support, so many people believing in me and wanting to help,” he says. “I’m like, you know what? How can I give up on these people?”
There have been some dark days, for sure. And for people like LeGrand, the COVID-19 lockdown could have been the worst of them. But, cut off from his large circle of friends and busy social life, LeGrand stayed busy.
He says that he discovered a love for books for the first time. Biographies mostly, like “Shoe Dog,” the life story of Nike founder Phil Knight.
“It just motivated me and gave me a sense of empowerment. I want to do more. “You see how much people are suffering. Coming up with ideas and working with people who are like-minded minds,” LeGrand says.
Those stories and time to think have left LeGrand bursting with plans and ideas for new ventures.
“There’s a lot of things cooking in the kitchen right now,” he says.
LeGrand’s latest project is Forbeto -an app developed by a team of New Jersey techies that links local businesses with local charities. Advertisers pay each time a user listens to an advertisement. The money then goes into their account, which they can then donate to participating local charities. LeGrand serves as the company’s chief branding officer.
Forbeto means “for a better tomorrow,” something that LeGrand says he never stops working toward.