Still recovering from life-changing injury, former SU football player moves into new wheelchair-accessible home
BATON ROUGE - Nearly four years after a devastating hit changed the course of his life, former Southern University football player Devon Gales and his family are moving into a new home, and he will be tackling a new life.
“It feels like a dream come true. Something that just came from a thought and now it’s a reality. It’s just something that I’ve been waiting on for a while, and I’m really grateful for it,” said Gales.
Gales and his family have just moved into a brand new, custom-built home that is completely wheelchair-accessible.
“I can come in my gym, well it’s my room. I can chill. I can relax. I can change my TV. I can basically do all my things for myself,” he continued. “Everything is low, so I’m able to be able to grab and get to things that I need to. I’m able to roll outside, close the door, open it when I can. Everything is just handicap-accessible."
Leaving a much smaller house that they have been staying in behind, the new Gales family home has been furnished and decorated for them, including a Georgia bulldogs logo in the backyard.
“It was kind of tough because we were still in the small house, and we weren’t able to move around like we can now. And just to say we had so much stuff from Baton Rouge and so much stuff people gave to us while we were here,” Gales said. “It kept just piling up and piling up and piling up, and now that we have this house we’re able to put things in place."
Back in 2015, during a game against the University of Georgia, Gales was tackled and left paralyzed from the neck down. Since then, it’s been an ongoing struggle for his family, with their time split between Louisiana and Georgia.
According to Gales, he has been on a long journey that has led him to finally returning to the game he loves. But this time he's on the sidelines as an assistant coach for the Jefferson High School football team.
“I’m just ready to get out there and get around football, be around the guys. It’s something that I haven't been around in a minute, so just to get out there and be able to talk to guys and just be a role model for the high school, it’s something I enjoyed when I was younger,” Gales explained.
Although the Baton Rouge native is no longer living in the capital city, Gales said he still keeps up with everything going on here in Baton Rouge. And he has plans to make a return so he can enjoy some Southern University Jaguar football.
“I think just this whole journey of me from the beginning to the end. I still have a long way to go, but I feel like every part I’ve been going through have been a memory because I basically had to get it. I had to grind for everything,” he said.
While he recovers from surgery to help strengthen his grip and awaits the all-clear from his doctor to start his new career, Gales remains focused.
“I just knew it was going to take time and it was just a process I had to go through. So I’m still going through that process as we speak, and I’m gonna come out on top."