Former Penn State defensive back Adam Taliaferro inspired fans and alumni after he recovered from a spinal cord injury on the football field so serious that doctors once feared he would never walk again.
More than a decade afterward, it's Taliaferro who is now trying to help his alma mater through a challenging period.
The football player-turned-lawyer is one of three new alumni-elected members of the university's Board of Trustees officially taking their seats when the board holds its next meeting Friday in Scranton. Taliaferro, financial services executive Anthony Lubrano and retired Navy SEAL Capt. Ryan McCombie assume the posts at a crucial time for Penn State: as the school awaits the findings of an internal investigation, led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Of the three trustees, Taliaferro is the most well-known by virtue of his motivational recovery from a severe neck injury after his helmet hit the knee of Ohio State tailback Jerry Westbrooks on Sept. 23, 2000, in Columbus. He has since written a book and started a foundation to help athletes recovering from similar injuries.