Faith, Positive Thinking, Exercise Inspiring Paralyzed PlayerBy Otis Livingston

NEW EGYPT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Faith and love.

Those are the forces driving a Rutgers student who was paralyzed on the field during a football game last year.

Eric LeGrand was told he would never walk again, but the 20-year-old said he isn’t giving up, reports CBS 2’s Otis Livingston.

It has been a long road to this point — about six months since LeGrand was laying motionless on the new Meadowlands Stadium field, paralyzed from the neck down after making a tackle. However, instead of giving up he’s done what he’s always done – fight – and has made a vow to get back on his feet someday.

“I believe God has a reason for this whole situation. He’s not going to put me through something I can’t handle, so I don’t really ask myself why,” LeGrand said.

On Oct. 16, 2010, a life and a once-promising football career were altered when he made that special teams tackle — one he’d made many times before. But on that day the impact was anything but routine. It’s a moment he not only plays over and over again in his head, but doesn’t shy away from playing it over and over again on replays.

“I just try to critique how I lowered my head at that right second. If I had moved to the left a little bit or to the right, or half a second before that. It all did happen for a reason so I like to watch it. I like football.

“It was the last play I played in, so I like to watch it.”

But while LeGrand does watch the replays of the devastating hit, he by no means is living in the past. Instead, the mantra for him and his family is moving forward, shown by the progress he’s made despite early word from the doctors, which was if LeGrand didn’t get activity or motion back within 72 hours of suffering the injury, the odds were much greater he’d never get them back.

“I have full sensation through my body. It’s not all the way. It’s a little bit impaired. I have contractions going through by biceps and my pecs. I’m almost able to move them fully by myself. I have to keep on working on the rehab to build them up stronger,” LeGrand said.

The rallying cry for Eric, his family, and everyone who’s been touched by his story is “believe.” His number 52 remains a symbol for inspiration.

“He’s so positive. He’s so sure. He really, truly believes. He helps me. He has convinced me, actually, that he’s going to be okay,” said, Karen LeGrand, Eric’s mother, adding when asked if Eric will walk again, “Of course we are. There is no doubt. There is no doubt. Yes, definitely. We don’t know when it’s going to be, but it will eventually happen.”

“I believe God’s plan is to make me walk again. He’s put me through this to inspire a bunch of people, to show them his way and believe always in him,” Eric LeGrand said.

“And I will walk again. I believe that.”

Eric is not only working on regaining full use of his body, but is continuing to work on his mind. He’ll take the last final of his junior year on Tuesday through his voice-activated computer and Skype, putting him right in the classroom. He also uses that computer in the social media world on Twitter to keep people updated on his progress.

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