Eric LeGrand’s life changed drastically when he became paralyzed while making a special teams tackle in 2010.
The former Rutgers defensive tackle has shared his story many times over, including once with us when we first launched Purpose2Play.
“I felt like I was going to die because I couldn’t breathe,” LeGrand told us in 2014. “When I couldn’t move and I couldn’t breathe at the same time, I thought that was the end. I freaked myself out. Coach [Greg] Schiano said, ‘Just pray,’ and that’s all I did was pray.”
He had fractured his C-3 and C-4 vertebrae and had to undergo nine hours of emergency surgery to stabilize his spine.
He told us that he continually makes it his responsibility to get better because so many others looks up to him.
One of those people eyeing his progress and his joyful spirit is high school senior Gianna Brunini. She doesn’t suffer from paralysis but she’s confined to a wheelchair, like LeGrand, due to having cerebral palsy.
After Gianna briefly met LeGrand, her mom penned him a letter asking if he would be up for taking her to her senior prom.
“It’s not often Gianna smiles anymore. Even if it was for one night, it would be worth it,” she wrote according to Mission Possible, LeGrand’s new show chronicling those who overcome major obstacles.
LeGrand took action with the help of good buddy and Good Morning America host, Michael Strahan. LeGrand showed up at her school and asked her to prom in front of her classmates.
“I thought I was going to be sad and lonely, but now I have one of the best prom dates ever,” she said.
Take a look at their evening.