Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand will be the third recipient of the Warrior Award, presented at WWE's 2017 Hall of Fame ceremony.
“It is an absolute honor to be named the 2017 Warrior Award recipient,” LeGrand said in a statement released Monday. “I am truly grateful for WWE’s support of my personal journey, and I am proud to continue to be an example of strength for people everywhere.”
LeGrand, 26, played defensive tackle at Rutgers before suffering a spinal cord injury in an October 2010 game against Army. He was paralyzed from the neck down.
Since suffering the injury, LeGrand has become a motivational speaker, sports broadcaster and founded the Team LeGrand charity of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation in 2013. WWE will make a $25,000 contribution to Team LeGrand as part of the Warrior Award honor.
“Eric LeGrand has shown incredible perseverance and unwavering positivity throughout his recovery,” said Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer. “From the work he does helping others with spinal cord injuries to his motivational speaking, Eric is the perfect choice for this prestigious award.”
WWE introduced the Warrior Award in 2015, which is given to "an individual who has exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of Ultimate Warrior." The WWE Hall of Famer died in April 2014, just days after his induction ceremony.
Connor "The Crusher" Michalek, the beloved 8-year-old WWE fan who died in 2014 due to a form of brain cancer called medulloblastoma, was the first Warrior Award recipient. He was inducted posthumously by Daniel Bryan and Dana Warrior, and WWE founded the charity Conor's Cure in Michalek's memory.
Journalist Joan Lunden received the award in 2016. She is a breast cancer survivor and was likewise inducted by Dana Warrior, who will handle LeGrand's induction speech.
“Eric LeGrand truly embodies the Warrior spirit with his determination and positive outlook,” said Dana Warrior. “I am honored to present this year’s Warrior Award to Eric at the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.”