Georgia coaches and officials spring to aid of Southern player and his family

Georgia football-Towers Take-Ron Courson carries on UGA tradition of great care-Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia athletic trainer Ron Courson with Southern player Devon Gale after he was injured Saturday.

ATHENS — Devon Gales, the Southern player who suffered a spinal injury during Saturday’s game against Georgia, remained at Athens Regional Hospital on Sunday night after having surgery, the school reported.

Gales has movement in his upper body, but he did suffer several fractures in his neck, which were “stabilized” by surgery, the school said in a statement. It went on to say that Gales “remains in good spirits and will remain at Athens Regional until he is released to return to Baton Rouge for further treatment.”

Gales’ parents are with him: They were flown in from Louisiana at UGA’s expense on Saturday night, then driven to Athens by Georgia staff, according to Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity. There has been an active and concerted effort by Georgia officials, led by head athletic trainer Ron Courson, to coordinate with Southern and help out.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt visited Gales on Sunday, as did offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and his family.

“We’re trying to cover him up with as much love as we can, and let him know that we care, let him know that we’re here to help,” Richt said. “We’re just gonna continue to pray, and I know the Bulldog nation is behind him as well. There may come a time where there may be some needs. Not exactly sure yet. But it does come to that I’m going to be calling all Dawgs to get involved and to help out.”

Georgia had to begin preparations for Saturday’s showdown with Alabama, but Richt and a number of staffers took time out Sunday to go to the hospital. Georgia team chaplain Kevin Hynes has also “spent an awful lot of time” with Gales’ family, according to Richt. Thomas Settles, another team chaplain, has been involved as well.

The wives and other family members of Georgia coaches were also planning to help out.

“We have a family night tonight. They’re making a lot of posters, get-well cards, and they may pop in and out of the hospital,” Richt said.

 

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