Athletes, by nature, risk serious injury every time they step out on the field, court, pitch, diamond, or rink. The higher the level of competition, the greater the risk of injury.
In September 2015, Devon Gales was a wide receiver and special teams player for Southern University. Southern was in Georgia to take on the high-powered University of Georgia Bulldogs when Gales's life was changed forever.
On a routine kickoff return, Gales ran up-field, trying to clear a path for the return man. He lined up Georgia kicker, Marshall Morgan, and tried to make a good block. Something happened on impact, something that left everyone in the stadium holding their breath, and Devon Gales was left laying flat on the turf and he wasn't getting up.
He was immediately transported to hospital to undergo a CT scan and x-rays. It wasn't good news, Devon had shattered his C6 vertebrae, and his C4 and C5 were both pinching his spinal cord. Even after having 20 screws put in his C6, and two steel rods inserted into his spine to support his neck, he was still paralyzed from the waist down.
Some people would give up after receiving this diagnosis, but not Devon, he has been fighting since day one.
It has been a long two years for Devon and his family, but they haven't been going through it alone. After the game, Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan went to visit Devon in the hospital. From that visit on, a brotherly bond was made and the two have become quite close. Devon even attended Marshall's wedding earlier this year.
When you do such extensive damage to your spine the way Devon had done, the dream of walking again can seem unattainable, but that is exactly what Devon Gales did. In May of this year, he took his first steps since the accident.
The work has just begun though, learning to walk again will be a lengthy and painful process. It will be both physically and mentally intense, but if anyone can do it he will.
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