ATHENS, Ga. — It was one hit that changed the lives of two men forever. They were on opposing teams but now they are fighting on the same team for life.
Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes has been following Devon Gales' recovery ever since that fateful game in 2015.
The Southern University wide receiver suffered a paralyzing neck injury when he collided with UGA kicker Marshall Morgan during a kickoff return.
Gales has been in recovery and is re-learning to use his body.
The two players met for the first time about a year after the collision. Morgan said he was surprised by what Gales said.
“(He said), ‘I just want you to know it’s not your fault. I love you. I’m not mad at you.’ That just helped all the guilt and kind of relieved some stress on that,” Morgan said.
Morgan thought Gales and his family would hate him forever, but that’s not the case.
“They could have looked at me as a monster, but instead they love me,” he said.
Fernandes asked Morgan to walk her through what happened on the day that changed both men’s lives forever.
“So I see 33 flying at me and I was just like, 'OK, I don’t want to get laid out.' So I just kind of braced myself and I got my stance and leaned forward ready for impact and I guess at the last second he dipped his head down,” he said.
Since that hit Gales has been rebuilding his strength and fighting to walk again every day at the Shepherd Center in Buckhead. He said he cherishes the unlikely friendship that blossomed into a brotherhood.
“It was like your brother you never met before and then you finally meet him and it’s like, ‘Oh. I finally found you,”’ he said.
Fernandes visited Gales at the Shepherd Center, where he has been making strides for two years.
He is finally feeling the muscles in his legs that he couldn’t feel after the paralyzing collision. He is now almost jogging with the help of a special machine.
“Every day they put me on it and they put me on that speed, I feel like I’m in a track meet. I’m trying to run as fast as I can,” Gales said.
Gales said he will keep pushing through and hopes to be an inspiration to others.
“God put me here for a reason, not just because of my injury, but to help others,” he said.
Since the injury, Gales and his family have been living in a small apartment.
You can help Devon Gales in the Commit to the Gales campaign by texting "Devon" to 706-204-1707 and use #DawgHouseForDevonDriv3ForFiv3 on social media.
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