- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Injured Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand has been named the winner of the 2010 Discover Orange Bowl-Football Writers Association of America Courage Award. The award will be presented Jan. 3 at the Discover Orange Bowl.
LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down Oct. 16 while making a tackle against Army. The most recent news is encouraging. LeGrand is continuing his rehabilitation at Kessler Institute in West Orange, N.J. Last month, he was taken off a ventilator and is able to breathe on his own. His injury was recently reclassified from a complete spinal cord injury to an incomplete spinal cord injury.
“This is a tremendous honor for Eric," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said in an official release. “Eric has displayed so much courage and determination throughout his injury and rehabilitation. He has given everyone associated with our football family at Rutgers the strength to persevere through life’s challenges.”
“We were deeply touched as a family to hear the news of Eric winning the Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award,” the LeGrand family said in a statement. “He continues every day to make positive steps and has attacked his rehabilitation with the same desire and passion as he did on the football field. We continue to ask everyone to keep Eric in your thoughts and prayers.”
The “Eric LeGrand Believe Fund” has been set up to help finance his treatment. For information, visit here.
This is the second straight year the award has gone to a Big East recipient. Connecticut was recognized last year for its strength in dealing with the Jasper Howard murder.