The Root

Paralyzed Eric LeGrand Delivers Graduation Speech After Controversy 

Former Rutgers University football player Eric LeGrand delivered a moving speech at his graduation in May despite his keynote invitation being rescinded just a few weeks earlier. LeGrand, who was paralyzed during a football game against Army in 2010, took to Twitter to express frustration after being uninvited to speak at graduation. Rutgers officials insisted it was a matter of miscommunication– LeGrand would still be able to make a speech but former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean was the official keynote speaker.

Meanwhile, Kean said he’d donate his speaking fee to create a scholarship fund for LeGrand. Read more.

The Root

Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman Surprises Hearing-Impaired Fans 

Derrick Coleman, fullback for the Seattle Seahawks and first legally deaf player on the NFL, surprised a couple of his biggest fans with tickets to the Super Bowl. Coleman surprised nine-year-old twins Riley and Erin Kovalcik while the girls were taping a segment for Good Morning America. The girls, who are also hearing impaired, had written Coleman a letter that went viral expressing their admiration of his accomplishments despite having a disability. Read more.


Miss Amazing pageant puts girls with disabilities first

The first national Miss Amazing pageant, for girls with mental and physical disabilities, was held in Omaha, Nebraska last week.

Jordan Somer, who founded Miss Amazing seven years ago when she was just 13-years-old, said every girl in the pageant receives a crown just for participating and pushing her limits. Pageant events, including evening wear and talent portions, are designed to boost confidence and self-esteem. Read more. 

The New York Times

“War and Sports Shape Better Artificial Limbs”

Tremendous advances have been made in the medical field within the past decade, thus making it easier for those who lose limbs either in war or for another reason to regain their physical abilities. James Dao talks with veterans who have lost limbs in various wars, as well as experts and others who emphasized the importance of adaptive sports and other support systems to help those with injuries.

The Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.)

Coach’s disability nothing but a footnote in a successful career

The message, with all its implications for success, can be distilled into three words. Spend any amount of time around this coach, around his football program, and you’ll come away parroting the mantra:

“Figure it out.”

Catchy, sure. But it’s more than a nice phrase. It’s Mark Speckman’s coaching philosophy. And his life.