In the fall of 2010, Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand suffered an injury that would change his life dramatically. While tackling a player from Army he sustained a fracture to the C3 and C4 vertebrae in his neck. As a result of this injury, he had spinal cord damage that left him paralyzed from the neck down. This injury required 9 hours of surgery to stabilize his spine; after this surgery, his doctors gave him a 0 to 5 percent chance of regaining neurological function. In January of 2011, Rutgers announced that LeGrand had regained movement in his shoulders and sensation throughout his body. Eric showed that with hard work and belief, many obstacles can be overcome. He continues to work towards and believes in his goal of walking one day.
Following his injury, LeGrand founded A Walk to Believe, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization with the mission of creating awareness about spinal cord injury (SCI) and raising funds for people suffering from SCI. The 6th annual awareness and fundraising walk/5K took place on June 5, 2016. It was a huge success as A Walk to Believe raised $52,000, with all proceeds benefiting the Reeve Foundation, which supports spinal cord injury research and initiatives that improve the quality of life for those affected by spinal cord injuries.
Given the current population size of 314 million people in the U.S., recent estimates show the annual incidence of SCI is approximately 54 cases per million population in the U.S .or approximately 17,000 new SCI cases each year. Currently, the number of people in the U.S. who have SCI has been estimated to be approximately 282,000. It is for those roughly 282,000 people that A Walk to Believe raises funds for awareness and treatment.
Over the years, members of the International Research Consortium on Spinal Cord Injury have made key discoveries that have led directly to potential spinal repair treatments. Several of these are entering or close to clinical trials with the findings from Consortium researchers serving as the cornerstone of each advance. The Consortium mirrors Christopher Reeve’s vision of a “laboratory without walls” by uniting some of the brightest experts in the SCI field and creating a collaborative environment to share insights and learnings.
Meanwhile, Eric LeGrand has dedicated his life to getting the message out and to help improve the lives of those who have been affected by spinal cord injuries. He is just one individual but he is looking to raise money for the benefit of many. As avid supporters of Rutgers Athletics and as healthcare professionals who are dedicated to the rehabilitation of others, the staff at Jersey Physical Therapy are proud supporters of LeGrand’s vision. Supporting this former student athlete’s charity was an easy decision to make, and JPT was happy to be a sponsor of the 6th annual A Walk to Believe as well as to have several staff members and their families participate in the walk/5K. Keep up the incredible work Eric and know that we at Jersey Physical Therapy will continue our support to help you and others achieve their goals.