Going to the Super Bowl is a dream for a lot of people. But for Eric LeGrand, this year’s game at MetLife Stadium holds more significance than for most attendees. Why? Because this stadium was the last place he walked.
In October 2010 at the stadium where the Broncos and Seahawks will face off this weekend, Eric, a junior defensive tackle for Rutgers University, made a tackle on a kick-off return against Army. In what Eric calls “a one in five million long-shot,” he fractured his vertebrae during the tackle. The injury left him with quadriplegia.
Now, 39 months later, LeGrand is returning to the scene of his injury. But this time, it will be to watch his favorite team, the Denver Broncos, in the biggest game of the year. And it’s all thanks to the kindness of strangers. Eric was at the annual Super Bowl Media Day (one reporter noted the crowd around him was bigger than the crowd around Wes Welker) promoting Team LeGrand of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation when he was asked if he was going to the game. He said he didn’t have tickets, and within the day, he had two, courtesy of NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt. Eric, in an interview with USA Today:
It means the world to me. To see the Broncos here now, in the stadium I got hurt in, in the Super Bowl, it’s like a dream come true right now.
Eric plans to bring his mom, Karen, to the game, and is predicting a Denver victory. As for the freezing temps? He’s not worried.
As long as I get in (with tickets), I’ll find a way to get into somebody’s (luxury) box so I don’t have to sit out in the 25-degree weather.
Eric has done a great deal to raise awareness of the issues facing people with paralysis, and in the fight to find a cure. We are thrilled he is getting this meaningful opportunity — and go Broncos! To learn more about Eric and Team LeGrand, check out the video below.