ATHENS, Ga. — The University of Georgia is stepping up to help paralyzed college football player Devon Gales, after a nonprofit organization that promised to build him a home cut ties with the family last month.
"I thank everyone in Georgia just for everything you've done," Gales told Channel 2’s Tyisha Fernandes.
Ever since the Southern University player was injured while playing UGA in September 2015, students and staff have gone out of their way to make him feel like an honorary Dawg and to let him know they've got this back.
"It just tells you how much you're really loved and how much people really care about you," Gales said.
Over the weekend, athletic staff invited Devon and his family to a basketball game against LSU.
At halftime, they presented Devon with the NCAA Sportmanship Award. He said the crowd went wild.
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"Oh yeah, they stood up. I think I loved when I raised my hands up with the trophy," Gales told Fernandes.
But then the crowd had another surprise.
UGA announced that the school has kicked off its own fundraising campaign to build Devon a handicapped-accessible home.
To donate, you can text "Devon" to 706-204-1707.
Baltimore Ravens tight end and former UGA player Benjamin Watson posted on Twitter that he had donated $10,000 to Gales, and encouraged others to help as well.
The Triumph over Tragedy organization was already supposed to build one for Gales, but when they cut ties with the family last month, UGA stepped in.
A new home will give Devon some privacy, which he hasn't had in two years, and it will allow his family to live together again.
"I was just, like, 'Wow!' I knew we've been trying to do this house for a long, long time," Gales said.
Cox Media Group