Devon Gales, the Southern University football player paralyzed during a game against the University of Georgia in 2015, is finally in his brand-new handicap-accessible home in Jackson County.
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Those who have supported the family the past four years gathered at the home in the Traditions of Braselton subdivision as Gales and his parents were given the keys.
Gales has his own wing in the home which includes a handicap-accessible bathroom, bedroom, and therapy room.
“It’s going to give me more independence. I’m going to be able to do more things on my own, not having to have somebody always looking over my shoulder. Just to be able to get that back--that’s a big, big difference for me,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
All of his family including his mother, father, younger brother and sister, will finally be under the same roof again with part of them living in Baton Rouge and the other in Georgia as Gales underwent treatment.
It was Ron Courson, head of UGA’s sports medicine and the first to come to Gale’s aid on the field after the collision with kicker Marshall Morgan, who vowed to one day build the injured player a handicap-accessible home. He was among those at the unveiling.
“I think everybody really rallied around him and they’re such a great family. They blessed us. I know people have blessed them. But just knowing them, they blessed us by the way they responded to adversity in such a positive manner. They inspire me every time I see them,” he says.
Also at the unveiling was Morgan, who has stayed close to the Gales family since the accident.
“They (UGA) just wrapped their arms around him the day the accident happened. Ever since, we’ve been trying to find ways to get this done and today is so exciting because it’s finally done, and they get to see the work that everyone’s been putting in and finally enjoy it,” he says.
Despite a few initial setbacks, the home was made possible through generous donations from the public: Land owner and developer Whit Marshall, who himself was a former UGA player; builder Mike Elrod, who stands on the sidelines during UGA football games administering oxygen to players; and nearly a hundred contractors who came forward to offer their services for free.
“God put me in a certain position to where I’ve had wonderful people come in my circle and bless me with so much joy. There’s nothing to be sad about—I’m just grateful,” says Gales.