Created in 2011 by boxer and West Point graduate Captain Boyd “Rainmaker” Melson, Team Fight to Walk’s goal is to raise awareness within the boxing community as well as the entire nation about the importance of bringing Clinical Trials to the United States to help cure Spinal Cord Injuries. In association with Team Fight to Walk, Melson, who has a record of 8-1 with 4 knockouts, donates all of his fight purses to Justadollarplease.org to help support the trial.
A New Jersey native, LeGrand was one of the Garden State’s top recruits and earned a scholarship to play football at Rutgers in the fall of 2008. On October 16, 2010, the 6’2 275 lb Avenel native severely injured his spinal cord while attempting to tackle Malcolm Brown of Army. The two violently collided and LeGrand remained on the ground for more than three minutes before medical personnel took him off the field.
LeGrand was transported to the ICU at Hackensack University Medical Center, where doctors determined he was a quadriplegic. Doctors told him that every day would be a severe struggle but LeGrand refused to give up. Within three months, LeGrand was able to move his shoulders and felt sensation throughout his body. In July 2011, after working tirelessly during rehabilitation sessions, LeGrand stood upright with the aid of a walker.
Later that year, LeGrand led Rutgers onto the field prior to their game against West Virginia. Sports Illustrated readers voted the best moment in 2011. On May 2, 2012, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now coached by former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, signed the courageous 21-year-old to an honorary contract.
“I’m very happy to be a part of the team and a part of the journey to find a cure for spinal cord injuries,” stated LeGrand. “Everything happens for a reason and miracles happen every day.”
“Eric is the ultimate fighter,” said Melson, who is connected to LeGrand through Dr. Patricia Morton and the Rutgers Foundation. “My best friend Christan Zaccagnino was paralyzed in a diving accident when she was a child and I’ve spent countless hours with her, so I truly understand what Eric goes through to the best of my ability without actually being in a wheelchair myself. He’s an inspiration to people from all walks of life and his inner-strength is unbelievable. We’ve received an excellent response from the boxing community and our roster of fighters supporting the cause continues to grow, but Eric’s presence will help us reach new heights!”
LeGrand will be honored for his courageousness July 11 at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles and Melson’s next bout is tentatively scheduled for August in New York City.
In addition to LeGrand and Melson, Team Fight to Walk is comprised of former two-time cruiserweight champion Steve “USS” Cunningham, title contender DeAndre “The Bull” Latimore, Edgar “El Chamaco” Santana, Hector “Machito” Camacho Jr., 2008 US Olympians Demetrius “Boo” Andrade and Shawn Estrada along with prospects Sid “The Messenger” El Harrak, Denis “Da Momma’s Boy” Douglin, Will “Power” Rosinsky, Floriano “Italiano” Pagliara, Danny “Little Mac” McDermott, Vinny “The Lion” O’Brien, Ahmed “Prince of Egypt” Samir and Delen “Sniper” Parsley.
For more information or to make a donation, go to teamfighttowalk.com or Justadollarplease.org. All specific questions about the nature of the Clinical Trial to cure Spinal Cord Injury can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.