Former Rutgers Football Star Eric LeGrand on How He Turned Personal Tragedy into Empowerment for Others

Published on October 21, 2019

In the face of things you can’t control, you can control your attitude about them.

In 2010, Eric LeGrand‘s life changed forever, when a player for Rutgers, Eric went for a tackle on special teams, hit with the crown of his head and collapsed to the ground.

Eric did not know the immediate ramifications until his mother revealed them to him several weeks later; he was paralyzed from the neck down.


The Decision to Be Positive

Through the whole ordeal, no one did more for his family than former Rutgers coach, Greg Schiano. When I asked Eric about it, comparing it to my conversations with former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel, Eric agreed, the best college coaches want to make stand up men, not just football players.

Eric made the decision to continue to be the positive guy in-spite of the grim outlook. That outlook has made an incredible impact, he’s regained movement in his shoulders and continues to drive for more every day, as referenced by his frequent social media postings from Kessler Rehabilitation Center.

“I’ve always been that happy-go-lucky, life of the Party want to be around guy. My entire life, I’ve always been like that. And when I got hurt, I said I wasn’t going to let this injury define me. I was 20 years old, I’m like God willing, I have many, many more years to live. I don’t want to be miserable. I hate that feeling of being upset being mad or being disappointed a something. I hate that feeling so I said to myself.

I‘m not going to let this get to me, I know I’m going to need a lot of help. This was a long road ahead of me. But it’s possible and then, I was overwhelmed by the support it took off it went, not just nationally, it was Internationally. It was all over the place. because I was getting letters from people in China, Australia, reaching out to me, sending me stuff. So I’m like, you know it kind of turned into a responsibility and I can’t give up now. All these people have eyes on me.”
– Eric LeGrand

Turning Tragedy to Impact

It’s not just about him, but the people he can impact. Eric has started a foundation, created a clothing line, writer a book and speaks fo people all over the world.

In spite of everything he cannot control, Eric is concentrating on the thing he can, his attitude; it’s made all the difference.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed him to a contract as an undrafted free agent in May 2012. In 2017, LeGrand was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as the third recipient of the Warrior Award.

He is the recipient of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2012 ESPYs. Eric is also the creator of the “Roll Model” clothing line.

Eric Le Grand sits down with me, Jeremy Ryan Slate, to talk about impact, big goals and being a “Roll Model” on the latest episode of the Create Your Own Life Show.

Jeremy Ryan Slate a Contributing Editor at Grit Daily. Based in New Jersey, he is the founder of the Create Your Own Life Show, a podcast that studies world-class performers. He studied literature at Oxford University, and is a former champion power lifter turned new-media entrepreneur. Specializes in using podcasting and new media to create celebrity and was ranked #1 in iTunes New and Noteworthy and #26 in the business category. Jeremy was named one of the top 26 podcast for entrepreneurs to listen to in 2017 by CIO Magazine and Millennial Influencer to follow in 2018 by Buzzfeed.  The Create Your Own Life Podcast has been downloaded over one million times.

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