Former Rutgers star Eric LeGrand opens coffee shop in New Jersey

On3 imageby:Wade Peery05/14/22

In one of the more heartwarming stories of the year, former Rutgers star Eric LeGrand opened his own coffee shop in his hometown of Woodbridge, New Jersey, on Saturday morning. He began building the shop in 2020 and on Saturday, he finally opened their doors to the public. The Twitter account for his coffee shop, LeGrand Coffee House, tweeted out a picture of LeGrand in front of his new shop on Saturday morning.

His shop’s website gives customers a brief description of what to expect: “Opening on May 14th, we will be sourcing extraordinary coffees from a local roaster and serve traditional baked goods and food items. We will also prepare traditional coffee beverages to the highest standards, and we will serve those beverages in an inviting space that encourages our customers to socialize and relax.”

It is both heartwarming and refreshing to see LeGrand doing so well in life. To say he has come an incredibly long way is a massive, massive understatement.

On Oct. 16, 2010, when he played for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the 6-foot-2, 275-pounder suffered a severe spinal cord injury against Army. The injury occurred in East Rutherford, New Jersey, at MetLife Stadium.

On a kickoff, LeGrand unintentionally put his head down while running and ended up driving the crown of his helmet into the shoulder of the ball carrier, former Army running back Malcolm Brown. He was credited with a tackle, but the former Rutgers standout laid on the ground for several minutes before being carted off the field. As he was being carted off the field, LeGrand wasn’t able to move anything but his head and was unable to breathe without medical assistance.

He was quickly transported to Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, New Jersey, where doctors determined LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down. He had fractured his C3 and C4 cervical vertebrae. He was put on a respirator right away to help his breathing. Two weeks later he was transferred to the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation–one of the nation’s leaders in spinal cord rehabilitation.

For the next year following his injury, LeGrand made a strong recovery and was eventually able to breathe on his own, without medical assistance. It is both inspiring and heartwarming to see just how far he’s come. He’s been able to maintain a remarkably positive outlook on life since the tragic accident–something everyone can learn from on a daily basis.

Eric LeGrand has earned numerous accolades and honors the past decade

The former Colonia High School (Colonia, New Jersey) standout has earned a number of various accolades and honors during the past decade.

At the 2012 ESPY Awards, he was given the famous award for perseverance, the Jimmy V Award, named after the late Jim Valvano.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also symbolically signed him to a contract on May 2, 2012. The Bucs were coached by Greg Schiano, who was his head coach for the Scarlet Knights during his playing career there. On Sept. 14, 2013, Rutgers retired his No. 52 jersey at a halftime ceremony during the Rutgers-Eastern Michigan game. In the 144-year history of their football program, LeGrand became the very first player to have his jersey retired.

For the past decade, he’s also served as an inspirational speaker at numerous locations across the United States.

During his playing career (2.5 seasons) with Rutgers before the injury, LeGrand racked up 60 tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. Coming out of Colonia High School (Colonia, New Jersey)–he was rated as a four-star prospect and the No. 45 linebacker in America, according to the On3 Consensus Rankings for the 2008 class.