Gift Honors Former Football Player With Spinal Cord Injury   

Gift Honors Former Football Player With Spinal Cord Injury

Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand is honored by his coach, Greg Schiano, with a generous gift to establish a new spinal cord treatment room.

Since his 2010 spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down, former Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand has had multiple treatments and stays throughout the Hackensack Meridian Health network. But a recent visit to JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute ended in a big surprise.

Eric’s former football coach, Greg Schiano, and Coach Schiano’s wife, Christy, were there to unveil a new spinal cord treatment room: the Eric LeGrand Spinal Cord Injury Patient Care Room. The new room was made possible by a generous $250,000 from the Schianos. 

“Coach Schiano and Eric have such a special bond, and we are so grateful to be the recipients of this generous gift by Greg and Christy, which will help us continue delivering groundbreaking, compassionate care,’’ says Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health.

Upon seeing the room for the first time, Eric was touched and remarked about what it will mean for future patients who need rehabilitative care. “Being in a wheelchair for 12 years now, I’ve seen places that are accessible and places that are not, and this room is completely state-of-the-art,” Eric says. “I’m really excited for the people that will get to use that room because it will really help their rehabilitation process.”

The Spinal Cord Injury program at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute offers both inpatient and outpatient treatment, support services, technology and techniques to maximize recovery. Included in the Institute are two dedicated spinal cord injury treatment rooms that include a variety of tools and technologies in an accessible space, combined with the clinical expertise needed to treat spinal cord injuries. The Institute also offers the ZeroG Gait and Balance System, a robotic apparatus that supports a patient’s weight during therapy to assist in walking while preventing falls.

“Since his injury, Eric has worked tirelessly to make life better for others impacted by spinal cord injuries,” Coach Schiano says. “Making this gift in his honor was our opportunity to do the same. We are so proud of Eric for all that he has achieved, and our gift ensures that others have the same options so that they can receive the best care possible and live their lives to the fullest.”

Adds Sara Cuccurullo, M.D., chair, vice president, medical director, JFK Johnson: “We are so grateful to Coach Schiano and his wife, Christy, for their compassionate giving, which will help so many people live life to their highest potential by ensuring we have the best clinical team and most state-of-the-art treatment options.”

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