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Penn St. ex-player who overcame spinal injury now a lawmaker

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) A former Penn State football player who recovered from a spinal cord injury has been sworn in as a New Jersey legislator.

Adam Taliaferro took the oath of office Thursday to fill a vacancy created when Assemblywoman Celeste Riley stepped down from the southern New Jersey post to serve as Cumberland County clerk.

Taliaferro was paralyzed during a Penn State-Ohio State game in 2000 after tackling an opponent. Doctors predicted a small chance of walking again. He recovered in four months.

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto called Taliaferro an ''exceptional'' advocate for the district.

Taliaferro won the nomination after the district's Democratic officials endorsed him this month. Vacated seats in New Jersey are filled by the party that controls them.

He has also served as a Gloucester County freeholder.