JEFFERSON, Ga. — On Thursday, four years after a terrible accident on the football field left Southern University player Devon Gales paralyzed, he finally moved into a new home built specially for him.
Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes has been following Gales' story since the accident first happened at a game against University of Georgia in 2015.
Gales suffered a spinal injury during a collision with former Bulldogs kicker Marshall Morgan. Gales was paralyzed from the waist down.
On Thursday, Channel 2 Action News was the only news station go inside the Jackson County home built for Gales and his family.
The Gales family got a warm welcome Thursday when they pulled up to the new home in a quiet subdivision near where Gales now works as an assistant high school football coach.
Multiple organizations and donors and nearly 100 subcontractors came together to build the handicap-accessible house, which was promised to Gales after the accident.
There were some bumps along the road that left the family split between Georgia and Louisiana, but its dream of being united in one home together finally came true.
"On behalf of Dawg Nation, I want to give you the keys to your new home," an organizer said and handed Gales the keys.
When the front doors opened, members of the Gales family couldn't believe their eyes. Fernandes saw the overjoyed looks on the faces of Gales and his family members as they toured the home, which had custom details and spaces carved out for each person.
"I'm just happy," Gales said. I have my own space. My mama has her own space. My brother, my daddy, we all have our own area now."
The entire first floor, including a rehabilitation room, a bedroom decorated with jerseys and a bathroom with a special shower, are all for Gales. Builders made sure there's no obstruction for his wheelchair.
Gales said the new, wheelchair-accessible home is especially important for him.
"It's going to give me a lot more independence," Gales said. "Just to be able to get that back, that's a big different for me and I think that's a big stepping stone that I needed."
Morgan, the football player who collided with Gales, even showed up for the big reveal with his newborn son. Since the accident, the two former players have become good friends.
Gales told Fernandes the four-year wait was worth it.
"I"m just overwhelmed by everything," Gales said. "So many people have put their hands into this, and I'm grateful for everything."
Even the backyard is ready for the Gales family to entertain. There is a huge fire pit and lots of space to gather.
© 2020 Cox Media Group