DALLAS (FWAA) – Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand
has been named the winner of the 2010 Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA
Courage Award. LeGrand, a junior from Avenel, N.J., was paralyzed
from the neck down Oct. 16, while making a tackle against Army.
The award will be presented Jan. 3 at the Orange Bowl.
"This is a tremendous honor for Eric to receive the Discover
Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said.
"Eric has displayed so much courage and determination throughout
his injury and rehabilitation. He has given everyone associated
with our football family at Rutgers the strength to persevere through
The most recent news is encouraging. LeGrand is continuing his
rehabilitation at Kessler Institute in West Orange, N.J. Last month,
he was taken off a ventilator and is able to breathe on his own.
His injury was recently reclassified from a complete spinal cord
injury to an incomplete spinal cord injury.
LeGrand, a backup defensive tackle, suffered the injury while
making a tackle on a kickoff during the fourth quarter. He collided
with Army’s Malcolm Brown, then lay motionless on the field for
several minutes. He underwent emergency surgery to stabilize his
spine. Damage was to the C-3 and C-4 level of the vertebrae.
"As I talked to our team, we are going to believe that Eric is
going to walk onto that field again," Schiano said shortly after
The first few days after the injury, more than 18,000 e-mails
to LeGrand were sent through the school’s website, scarletknights.com.
"We know it’s going to be a long road," Schiano said a few days
after the injury. "It’s going to be one step at a time and we’re
going to do this as a family, the LeGrand family, the Rutgers football
family. That’s the way we are going to approach it."
The "Eric LeGrand Believe Fund" has been set up to help finance
his treatment. For information, visit
"We were deeply touched as a family to hear the news of Eric
winning the Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award," the LeGrand
family said in a statement. "Thank you to everyone at the Football
Writers Association of America for selecting Eric. He continues
every day to make positive steps and has attacked his rehabilitation
with the same desire and passion as he did on the football field.
We continue to ask everyone to keep Eric in your thoughts and prayers."
Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine's senior writer Gene
Wojciechowski, also an FWAA member. A select group of FWAA members
vote on the recipient each year. The requirements for nomination
include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming
an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living
Previous winners of the FWAA's Courage Award are the Connecticut
Huskies (2009), Tulsa's Wilson Holloway (2008), Navy's Zerbin Singleton
(2007), Clemson's Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane Green Wave
(2005), Memphis' Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil Parry
(2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).
The Orange Bowl Committee is a not-for-profit, 343-member,
primarily-volunteer organization. It is a self-sustaining, independent
organization that supports and produces activities and events that
enhance the image, economy and culture of South Florida. The Orange
Bowl Festival features a year-round schedule of events culminating
with the Discover Orange Bowl on January 3, 2011. Other OBC core
events include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange
Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority, Orange
Bowl International Tennis Championships and Orange Bowl Sailing
Regatta Series. For more information on the 2010-11 Orange Bowl
Festival and its events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities
through the Ambassador Program, visit www.orangebowl.org.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization
founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football
for a living. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists,
as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works
to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America
team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve
Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-713-6198.
2010 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Sept. 29: Zac Etheridge, Auburn and Rodney Scott,
• Oct. 6: Jon Hoese, Minnesota
• Oct. 13: Marquez Herrod, Colorado
• Oct. 20: Matt Anderson, North Dakota State
• Oct. 27: Jamie Hampton, Troy
• Nov. 3: Ricky Dobbs, Navy
• Nov. 17: Andrew, Colter and Paul Phillips
• Nov. 24: Mississippi State Bulldogs
• Dec. 1: Eric LeGrand, Rutgers