Doctors say Gales could be in hospital 8 weeks
ATLANTA - Doctors said Thursday that Southern University football player Devon Gales will likely be in the hospital for eight weeks or more as he recovers from a spinal injury suffered while playing Saturday against the University of Georgia.
Dr. Brock Bowman, Gales' attending physician at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, said he was moved between intensive care units overnight and doing well. Bowman said he could be moved out of the ICU later Thursday.
The 21-year-old player was taken off the field after he collided with another player during kickoff in the third quarter Saturday night. Doctors at the Shepherd Center said they stabilized Gales' injury with surgery after he arrived at the hospital, but it will take time for the swelling around the injured spot on the spinal cord to go down and doctors can learn the full extent of the injury.
Bowman said Gales had more range of motion on his right side, especially in his biceps and wrists. He said Gales did not need any help breathing which was a good sign, but progress with the recovery will be slow coming.
"Athletes tend to push the envelope, that's why they're good at what they do," Bowman said, "but this is not something where you can go to the gym 24-7 and speed up the recovery of the injury."
The University of Georgia paid to fly Gales' family out to be with him during his recovery, and Southern University has set up a fund to help cover his family's expenses.
The Shepherd Center was founded in 1975 and specializes in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury or brain injury. They're ranked among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation according to U. S. News and World Report.
In a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Interim Athletic Director Roman Banks reiterated the university's thanks to the University of Georgia for their support of Gales in his time of need. Banks also unveiled a special navy SU football jersey, bearing Gales' No. 33, that will be sent to the young man during his recovery. The navy jersey was already planned to be paired with navy pants for the Jags' upcoming Homecoming game, but it will now serve the dual purpose of commemorating the squad's injured player.
Banks said fans will be able to check in for updates on Gales' condition throughout the recovery process on the university's website. He could not yet release figures on how much money the Gales fund has acquired at this point, but said he anticipates it will be successful in easing the financial situation for the man's parents.