University Park, Pa. — Former Nittany Lion Adam Taliaferro will return to Columbus this weekend as Penn State visits Ohio State, six years to the day the promising freshman\’s life changed in an instant.
Taliaferro will meet Ohio State player Tyson Gentry, who suffered a serious neck injury last spring, during his visit. They will take part in a presentation at the game for the Ohio State University Medical Center\’s Dodd Hall Rehabilitation Program. September is National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.
Taliaferro and Gentry will be profiled Saturday on ESPN\’s College Gameday Built By The Home Depot, as will Penn State senior linebacker Paul Posluszny, the 2005 Butkus and Bednarik Award winner. The program airs from 10 a.m.-noon on ESPN and will originate from Columbus on Saturday.
A cornerback from Voorhees, N.J., Taliaferro suffered a severe neck injury while making a tackle in the fourth quarter of the game in Ohio Stadium on Sept. 23, 2000. He fractured the fifth cervical vertebra near the base of his neck when tackling Buckeye running back Jerry Westbrooks with 1:39 to play.
Taliaferro lay on the field motionless for many agonizing minutes. The initial prognosis of his spinal injury was that he had little chance of walking again.
But, the talented, personable and vibrant young man and his family would have nothing of the devastating diagnosis. Through his incredible determination and courage, tireless rehabilitation and desire to return to a normal life, Taliaferro was incredibly walking on his own five months after his injury.
A little more than 11 months after his horrific injury, Taliaferro completed one of the major goals he had set soon after the injury. On Sept. 1, 2001, he walked, then skipped and jogged onto the Beaver Stadium turf in front of a jubilant record crowd of more than 109,000, leading the Nittany Lions onto the field against the Miami Hurricanes.
Taliaferro began taking a full academic course load again in the 2001 fall semester while continuing his rehabilitation. In May, 2005 he walked across the stage at the Bryce Jordan Center and was awarded his degree in labor and industrial relations.
Taliaferro aspires to be a lawyer. He has interned with the National Football League Players\’ Association and a Philadelphia law firm and is in his second year at the Rutgers-Camden law school.
Taliaferro also attended the 2002 Penn State-Ohio State game in Columbus. In April, 2001 he returned to Columbus for the first time since his injury to thank those who had helped him and his family when he was injured. He spent five days at the OSU Medical Center following his injury before his transfer to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and then to Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, both of which are located in Philadelphia.
For more information on Taliaferro and the Adam Taliaferro Foundation, visit http://www.TaliaferroFoundation.org online.
Coach Joe Paterno\’s No. 24 Nittany Lions (2-1) and No. 1 Ohio State (3-0) will kick off the Big Ten season at 3:30 p.m. in Ohio Stadium. ABC, the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com will carry the action.