Paralyzed Rutgers player makes public appearance

Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand laughs Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011, in Piscataway, N,J., as he attends "Laugh To Heal Comedy" fundraiser for him at Rutgers University. LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down after making a special teams tackle against Army on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand laughs Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011, in Piscataway, N,J., as he attends "Laugh To Heal Comedy" fundraiser for him at Rutgers University. LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down after making a special teams tackle against Army on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010.

Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand made his first public appearance since being paralyzed in a game against Army more than four months ago.

LeGrand attended a "Laugh to Heal Comedy Fest Fundraiser" for him at the Rutgers Athletic Center on Saturday.

"I just want to thank everybody for coming out here today and I'm just going to keep on chopping during my rehab," LeGrand told the crowd of approximately 3,000 who attended the comedy show featuring Rutgers alumnus Bill Bellamy.

The event was for the "Eric LeGrand Believe Fund."

Rutgers spokesman Jason Baum did not know on Monday how much money was raised over the weekend.

It was LeGrand's second trip to Rutgers since the injury. He also joined his teammates for the first team meeting of the semester in January.

The junior defensive tackle has resumed his coursework at Rutgers, joining via videoconference last month for a class on "Blacks and Economic Structures."

LeGrand remains paralyzed below the neck. The Avenel, N.J., resident fractured his C3 and C4 vertebrae while making a head-first tackle on a kickoff in the win over Army at New Meadowlands Stadium.

LeGrand has regained movement in his shoulders and is experiencing sensation throughout his body. He is undergoing rehabilitation at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J.