The Penn State Nittany Lions and Rutgers Scarlet Knights will meet for the first time as Big Ten foes on September 13, and both schools have named their honorary captains for the matchup. Rutgers will be represented by former player Eric LeGrand and Penn State by Adam Taliaferro. Both men endured severe spinal cord injuries and have overcome tremendous adversity to be where they are today.
The first of the two injuries occurred on September 23, 2000, when Taliaferro made a tackle against Ohio State, subsequently breaking a vertebrae and bruising his spinal cord. Since his paralysis, Taliaferro has shown great determination in his road to recovery and silenced the critics by making a full one.
LeGrand was not so lucky, fracturing two vertebrae when attempting to make a tackle during a kickoff against Army on October 16, 2010. Since that fateful day, LeGrand has made great progress regaining movement in his core. Rutgers honored LeGrand by making him the only player in Rutgers football history to have their number (52) retired.
When asked about the acknowledgement, Taliaferro said, “For me, it’s an absolute honor to share this with Eric. Eric has inspired me ever since his injury and continues to do so each and every day.”