Rarely is in sport is the score secondary.
But after a 48-6 victory in Athens, Ga., on Sept. 26, University of Georgia coach Mark Richt's immediately shifted his focus to helping the family of Devon Gales, a sophomore receiver for Southern University who suffered a serious spinal injury in the third quarter. Along with Bulldogs athletic director Greg McGarity and other staffers, they quickly made arrangements to get Gales' parents to Athens, where the 21-year-old underwent four hours of surgery at Athens Regional Hospital.
At 9:55 p.m., Richt sent out this note to his nearly 200,000 followers on Twitter:
In an open letter days later, Southern University president Ray Belton revealed the extent of Georgia's grace and support:
From the moment of the accident, UGA and SU sports medicine staff worked side by side to tend to the injured SU player until he was taken off the field and transported to Athens Regional Medical Center. UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity immediately coordinated plans with SU Athletic Director Roman Banks for Devon’s care and support that included covering expenses to fly the student-athlete’s parents to Athens, Georgia, to be by his bedside.
At the medical center following the game, SU Head Coach Dawson Odums and members of the Jaguar Football team gathered with UGA Head Coach Mark Richt, other members of the UGA coaching staff, and team chaplains, to visit Devon. The UGA community has joined the Jaguar Nation in an extraordinary outpouring of prayers, love, and support for Devon and his family.
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 extent to which the UGA officials and community have embraced our student-athlete is remarkable and it speaks volumes to their character and kindness.
You can read the entire letter here.
Gales was recognized and honored during the first timeout at Georgia's next game, and his parents were showered with applause.
“My thoughts about UGA are so positive right now,” Donny Gales said, according to Athens Banner-Herald. "They have opened their home to us and treated us so well since we’ve been here, and we wanted to give support today to coach (Mark) Richt. He and his staff have opened up for our family in ways you can’t believe."
Devon Gales reportedly has no movement in his lower body or fingers but does have some feeling in his legs after surgery. He's expected to remain at the Shepard Center in Athens for at least another six weeks.
To support Devon Gales, please click on the link here.
Photo Credit: 11alive.com, Georgia Football, Greyson Lambert
Posted on Fri, October 9, 2015
by Sean Jensen filed under