- Associated Press - Monday, April 25, 2011

JACKSON, N.J. (AP) - Paralyzed Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand doesn’t believe in feeling sorry for himself, getting angry or wondering “Why me?”

It’s not his style.

The 20-year-old said his injury while making a tackle on a kickoff return against Army on Oct. 16 at New Meadowlands Stadium, was a one-in-five-million longshot that happened because fate or God intervened.

“There is a reason why it happened, that’s what I truly believe,” LeGrand said in a his first open meeting with the media on Monday. “I was picked for this to happen to. Some people can’t go through injuries like this, it would just put them down. I just believe God put me through this because he knows I can fight through this.”

Don’t ever doubt that.

The junior defensive tackle is going to rehabilitation three times a week. He’s finishing off an economics course. He’s thinking about becoming a sportscaster. And all along, he’s believing with all his might that one day, he will walk again.

When that will happen, LeGrand doesn’t know. He just knows he will.

That’s all that matters.

“I will walk again,” he said. “I believe that.”

Looking at LeGrand as he says that, it seems hard to believe.

A one-time barrel-chested athlete, LeGrand now sits in a big wheelchair with foot and hand rests to keep his limbs in place. A plastic tube is close to his mouth, and when he blows into it, the wheelchair moves from one room to another at the rural home where he is now living not far from the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park.

“The toughest part is not being able to do everything I want,” LeGrand said. “But I am living life the best I can. I am thankful for what I have.”

LeGrand knows things can be worse. During his extended rehabilitation at Kessler Institute in West Orange, N.J., he saw people who couldn’t talk or eat.

He also admits that life isn’t perfect. He cried four or five times on Sunday because he had talked to friends about their plans and it made him realize what he was missing.

And anger is part of his life, as well, especially when he is trying to do an exercise and he can’t get it done.

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