UPDATE: Eric LeGrand offers prospective on Damar Hamlin
Eric LeGrand was home watching the Rutgers basketball team upset Purdue Monday night when his phone started blowing up.
The Rutgers legend who became paralyzed while making a tackle in October 2010 against Army, called into my New Jersey 101.5 show and offered his perspective on Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin who went into cardiac arrest after making a tackle on a Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"I'm happy watching Rutgers beat the number one team in the country two years in Purdue and my emotions are all-time high, like happy wise" says LeGrand. "And then you see a group of text messages, like what just happened and you go to Twitter, and you're just like, damn, that is horrible. That we sit here just, hoping and praying that everything was OK with Damar. And you really think about his family."
What was going through LeGrand's mind?
"Every time something like this happens, whether concussion, minor foot injury. This was a different next level, something that no one has ever seen," says LeGrand.
"My mind always goes back to when I was laying on that turf and not knowing where my life was going to take me. Then obviously, as time goes on, you start thinking about the family, his teammates, and friends, because I remember those moments and talking to them ... And all you can do is really feel for them because you never want to see that happen to anybody. And then as a football player, it's a tight-knit brotherhood that we all have respect for. So it hurts all of us."
No one on that field will ever be the same again after what they witnessed. LeGrand talked about the feedback he got from fans and friends who saw him get injured.
"After it happened, it changes your life forever. I was on the other side because it happened to me. But from the stories that my teammates told me, it was devastating."
"We didn't win another game that year when we went in overtime that day. People were scared to make a tackle and they just didn't know what to expect to see. You know, one of your guys go down like that, like me, it was rough for them."
"And I had to just tell him, everything happens for a reason that, you know, I'm going to be OK. And that's what we hope for Damar that he will be OK."
"Obviously, mine was paralysis and my road to recovery is definitely different than Damar's. I'm truly believing that he's going to be OK. He's gonna wake up and be able to ultimately have a great life, but you feel for your teammates in these moments because those are the ones who are coherent right now. They're the ones that are conscious and they know what's going on. And honestly, you never wish for anyone to be in a situation like this."
According to the latest update on Damar Hamlin, progress appears to be made.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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