Rutgers Eric LeGrand has sensation throughout body

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) - Injured Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand has movement in his shoulders and sensation throughout his body.

Rutgers announced the improvement in LeGrand’s condition Thursday, citing an interview the player had recently with ESPN.

It marked the first update in LeGrand’s condition since last month when the university announced that the defensive tackle had some feeling in his hands.

The 20-year-old was hurt on Oct. 16, making a tackle on a kickoff return against Army in a game at New Meadowlands Stadium. He was treated at Hackensack University Medical Center for about two weeks before transferring to Kessler Institute, one of the nation’s leaders in spinal cord rehabilitation.

LeGrand told ESPN that he had “the fear of death” while lying on the field after his injury, believing that he “could pass out and die here.”

LeGrand tried to give the crowd a thumbs-up signal when he was taken off the field. But he couldn’t, because it felt like “1,000 pounds was on this thumb,” he said in the interview with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi.

LeGrand was initially diagnosed as paralyzed from the neck down, but doctors later upgraded his condition to an incomplete paralysis. He was taken off a ventilator in November and now breathes on his own.

“He believes that he’s going to be up and moving again,” Rutgers coach Greg Shiano said. “There’s no doubt in his mind.”

ESPN will air a part of the LeGrand interview on its 9 a.m. SportsCenter on Friday.

Rutgers went on to defeat Army, 23-20, in the game he was injured in. But without LeGrand the rest of the way, the Scarlet Knights lost six consecutive games. They finished 4-8, and last in the Big East at 1-6.

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