Former football player shares story of the injury that put him in a wheelchair


It’s football season! Emergency rooms across the country are gearing up for what they are sure to see, concussions, spinal injuries, heat illness, and other sports-related injuries.

Former Southern University football player, Devon Gales, shattered his C6 vertebra, with the C4 and C5 pinching at his spinal cord. He shared his experience with coaches in the Chattahoochee Valley at the Safe Kids 2019 Sports Safety Clinic held at the Columbus Civic Center.

“I went out like a normal kickoff return, my job was to block the kicker. So I went out and they kicked the ball off, I went to go block and, I’ve always used the crown of my head and that wasn’t good,” said Devon Gales.

He’s now an assistant coach at Jefferson High School in Jefferson, Georgia.

Concussions are a huge concern for the president of the Georgia Emergency Nurses Association. Jack Rodgers, a former TV sports anchor-turned- registered nurse, says there are protocols in place that govern what to do when a player has a head injury. Rodgers says those rules should be followed to the letter in order to avoid second impact syndrome.

“When you’re diagnosed with second impact syndrome, one of two things happen. 50 percent of the time it’s diagnosed during autopsy, the rest of the time, the players who are fortunate enough to survive that do have some type of life long deficit that they’re going to have to deal with,” said Jack Rodgers.

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