5 years after terrifying injury, Devon Gales on mission to walk again, earn degree from UGA

It’s been five years since Devon Gales was injured playing the game he loved and had to put his college education on the back burner. Now he’s ready to pick his education back up and get his college degree.

“I need to finish, I only have 2 years left – and looking back time flies, so why not do it now?” Gales told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes.

Gales has been talking about going back to school for the last few years. He is now enrolled at the University of Georgia and has been working on his arm strength, so he can get around campus on his own.

“I’m planning on going in January – I did my online registration and administration and all that,” he said.

Gales wants a degree in communications from the University of Georgia, where his life changed forever five years ago.

The Southern University wide receiver suffered a paralyzing neck injury when he collided with UGA kicker Marshall Morgan during a kickoff return in Athens on Sept. 26, 2015.

Channel 2 Action News has been following his incredible recovery over the last five years and the friendship Gales and Morgan have formed.

A year and half ago, Gales and his family moved into a spacious new home in Jefferson County. Morgan was there to help him move in. The house has everything that Gales needs to build his strength, physically and mentally. He has also some independence and privacy.

“This is more of like a peace area for me. I have my own area, I can come workout, get a lot of frustration out,” he said.


Part of the frustration comes because of the coronavirus pandemic. Since it started, Gales hasn’t been able to work out at the Shepherd Center, where he was making a lot of progress using his legs.

But Gales still has his job as one of the coaches for the Jefferson High School football team.

“From where I was, to now – and I can give them my opinion on what I”ve been through -and just bring them up the way I was – bring that Dawg out of them - it’s a blessing"

Gales plans to still keep his current job helping coach the team. It’s a familiar space on the field, where his sense of humor fits right in.

“I’ve been trying to tackle somebody for the longest,” he said. “It’s been cool just to be around the team, it’s a great group of kids who want to learn.”

While he misses the hi-tech equipment at the Shepherd Center, for now, he’ll continue to work on his strength in his home gym where the hustle never stops.

“If you’re trying to get where you’re trying to get, you gotta go out and go get it,” Gales told Fernandes. “I kept that in my head and every time I come in here its just grind – and everything I do in here is gonna transfer into life”