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LeGrand Injury Inspires Fund For Ailing College Players

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Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (52) is treated on the field after colliding with Army's Malcolm Brown (23) as he tried to make the tackle during the second half of a football game Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, in East Rutherford, N.J. LeGrand  was hurt on the play and taken off on a backboard from the field. Rutgers won 23-20 in overtime. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (52) is treated on the field after colliding with Army’s Malcolm Brown (23) as he tried to make the tackle during the second half of a football game Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, in East Rutherford, N.J. LeGrand was hurt on the play and taken off on a backboard from the field. Rutgers won 23-20 in overtime. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

NEW YORK (AP) — In the wake of a tragic injury to Eric LeGrand of Rutgers, a group of football and business leaders have established a fund to support players who sustained serious injuries through college football.

The College Football Assistance Fund will provide help to ease the burden of medical costs associated with injuries such as joint replacement, spine treatment, neurological care and other related expenses.

The nonprofit, tax exempt organization based in Dallas says the fund was conceived by a group of college coaches and athletic administrators concerned about the limited resources available to injured football players and their families.

The group was moved to act after LeGrand suffered a spinal cord injury making a tackle against Army on Oct. 16.

“It is our hope that the CFAF will provide much needed support to these young men who suffer life changing injuries through playing college football,” said SMU coach June Jones, a CFAF board member. “The costs associated with these injuries goes way beyond what is usually covered by health insurance. It is our objective to ease the financial burden.”

Fund spokesman Marques Fitch did not immediately return either a telephone call or an e-mail asking whether LeGrand would receive assistance.

On Thursday, Rutgers announced LeGrand had regained movement in his shoulders and is now experiencing sensation throughout his body.

In the interview with ESPN, which was taped at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J., LeGrand confirmed both pieces of news. He also said he believes he will walk again.

“I believe it,” LeGrand said in his emotional interview. “God has a plan for me, and I know it’s not to be sitting here all the time. I know he has something planned bigger for me.”

LeGrand fractured his C3/C4 vertebrae making the tackle and remains paralyzed below the neck.

He said he had “the fear of death” after the injury and felt he “could pass out and die here.”

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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