Southern player transferred to Shepherd Center
The Southern University football player who sustained a severe spinal injury in Saturday’s game against Georgia was transferred Wednesday to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta from Athens Regional Medical Center.
Wide receiver Devon Gales was admitted to Shepherd Center’s Spinal Cord Injury for evaluation, care and observation. He will start a “rigorous rehabilitation program,” on Thursday, according to the school.
The school has said Gales, who underwent surgery Sunday to stabilize fractures in his neck, has movement in his upper body.
Georgia baseball outfielder Johnathan Taylor, who was paralyzed from the waist down after an outfield collision in the 2011 season, also was sent to the Shepherd Center after his injury.
Southern University System President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton wrote an open letter to UGA athletic director Greg McGarity, coach Mark Richt, UGA officials and the UGA community.
It lauded the sports medicine staff for tending to Gales, McGarity for coordinating plans for his care and support including covering expenses to fly his parents to be by his bedside and Richt, staff and team chaplains for visiting Gales in the hospital.
“While Devon's road to full recovery may be long, we are grateful for the prayers and excellent medical care and treatment that resulted in his successful surgery and improvement thus far,” the letter said. “The extent to which the UGA officials and community have embraced our student-athlete is remarkable and it speaks volumes to their character and kindness.”
Richt and staff members visited Gales in the hospital and he has asked fans who can to contribute to a fund set up by the school to help pay medical expenses.
Contributions to the Devon Gales Fund can be made online at https://netcommunity.sus.edu/the-devon-gales-fund and can also be mailed to Southern University System Foundation, c/o Devon Gales Fund, PO Box 9562, Baton Rouge, LA 70813.
This and that
A big game means plenty of demands for tickets. Richt’s wife, Katharyn, and his assistant, Ann Hunt, handle requests. “So I always try to blame it on them,” Richt said Wednesday night. “It’s amazing the calls you get yesterday, today and tomorrow or Friday night. ‘Hey, can you get me in the game?’ I’m like no.’ People do that. Just old friends, to former players to somebody out of the blue.” …Safety Rico McGraw (knee) will be “available to play,” Richt said. “I’d say he’s probable I guess.” Outside linebacker Davin Bellamy (concussion) also has practiced without limitations and should play…Inside linebacker Reggie Carter (shoulder) isn’t expected to play.