Paralyzed player taken off ventilator, breathing on own

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Paralyzed Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand has been taken off a ventilator and is able to breathe on his own.

The school released an update on LeGrand’s condition Tuesday.

The 20-year-old defensive tackle was paralyzed from the neck down Oct. 16, making a tackle on a kickoff return against Army in a game at the New Meadowlands Stadium. He was treated at Hackensack University Medical Center for about two weeks before transferring to Kessler Institute, one of the nation’s leaders in spinal cord rehabilitation.

LeGrand’s injury was recently reclassified from a complete spinal cord injury to an incomplete spinal cord injury.

Click here to view a Grio slideshow of a Rutgers Rally for Eric LeGrand

The school says LeGrand has had several visitors at Kessler, including former Penn State football player Adam Taliaferro, who suffered a spine injury while playing but recovered to walk again.

“We want to thank everyone for all of the love and support for Eric, it has really been beneficial to his recovery,” the LeGrand family said in a statement. “Please continue to keep Eric in your prayers.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.