October 16th, 2010 was the day that changed Eric LeGrand's life. But it didn't end it, and that's what he's living for today.
LeGrand is the former Rutgers University football player who was paralyzed while making a tackle.
He was also signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by his former Rutgers coach Mike Schiano.
LeGrand now spends time motivating others to stay positive. On Monday, he spoke at HCC's Southshore campus in Ruskin. He spoke a lot about dreams.
There are the ones he has at night...
"All of my dreams, I'm never in my wheelchair. I'm always running around doing something."
And the one dream he has everyday: that one day, he'll get out of his wheelchair for good.
"I'm going to keep on believing. I know I will walk again one day . I don't know when it's going to be. Either through the grace of God, or through the grace of them finding a cure for paralysis. I will walk again," LeGrand said.
He told the students he undergoes four hours of therapy, five days a week.
"I take my therapy as a responsibility to show miracles do happen," he says.
Several students talked to him after the question and answer session. Robyn Martineau told him how she has been amazed at his attitude. Martineau is a nursing student at HCC. She says LeGrand has motivated her to be a better caregiver for her future patients.
"This is my motivation. I want to be there to take care of someone. Like he said, do it for love. And that's why I want to be a nurse," she said.
LeGrand has a new book out called "BELIEVE." He signed copies for HCC students, painstakingly signing each one with a pen in his mouth, writing "Eric Legrand #52."
LeGrand says it's his ultimate dream to walk back into the stadium where he was hurt, lay back on the 25 yard line -- but this time, get up and walk off the field.
"Whether I have to walk, jog, crawl, whatever I can do, just get off that field," he said.
He also spoke to the students about injuries that happened in college football just over the past weekend.
"When you see stuff like that, your heart drops. It brings you right back to the moment when you were laying there on the field," he said. "It's tough to see, but every football player knows going in, it's a violent game. It says that right there on the helmet, what can be caused playing this game: concussions, paralysis."
LeGrand plans to call Devon Walker, the player who was seriously hurt in the Tulane game. Walker suffered a fracture to his spinal cord. He underwent surgery and it's still unknown if he'll be permanently paralyzed.
LeGrand says he wants Walker to know he's here for support.
"I'm going to definitely call him once he's stabilized, But I know the first few days, you're tired. You really don't want to talk to anyone," he said. "But I want to let him know that I'm there for him. In whatever he needs. Let him know he's going to have the support of Tulane University, forever, just like Rutgers did with me."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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