Since suffering a devastating spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic in 2010, former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand has dedicated his life to inspiring others. His features are recognizable: he still has the burly build of a defensive tackle, keeps his hair in long cornrows and moves around in a motorized wheelchair.
Most fans probably don't know what LeGrand keeps underneath all that.
"He's a tattoo person," LeGrand's mother says, with some playful unease.
LeGrand uses tattoos to portray themes and purposes in his life. "My tattoos paint a picture of my body through the years -- my interests, my family, things that matter to me the most," he says.
Although he can't walk, LeGrand does feel tattoo needles going into his body.
LeGrand got his first tattoo as a junior in high school, so this is no post-injury obsession. With that said, the appeal of tattoos grew as LeGrand saw them as a way to personally express himself.
In his latest act, LeGrand got the Zodiac symbols for his niece and nephew tattooed on his body. The session, which took place at LeGrand's New Jersey home, was documented by the Wings for Life Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to spinal cord injury research. LeGrand is an ambassador for the Wings for Life World Run, which will take place on May 8.