ATHENS — Ray Belton, the president and chancellor of the Southern University system, has thanked UGA and its fans for its reaction to Devon Gales’ spinal injury, saying the situation “has exemplified the true nature of sportsmanship, caring and generosity.”
In an open letter released on Wednesday, Belton thanked UGA athletics director Greg McGarity, head football coach Mark Richt, UGA officials and “the entire UGA community.”
Gales, a sophomore receiver at Southern, suffered a severe spinal injury in last Saturday’s game at Georgia, and on Wednesday was transferred to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. Since his injury, UGA officials sprung to action to help Gales and his family, and have publicized a fund to help the family with expenses.
“From the moment of the accident, UGA and SU sports medicinee staff worked side by side to tend to the injured SU player until he was taken off the field and transported to Athens Regional Medical Center,” Belton writes. “UGA athletics director Greg McGarity immediately coordinated plans with SU athletic director Roman Banks for Devon’s care and support that included covering expenses to fly the student-athlete’s parents to Athens, Georgia, to be by his bedside.”
Later, Belton added:
“The UGA community has joined the Jaguar Nation in an extraordinary outpouring of prayers, love, and support for Devon and his family. While Devon’s road to full recovery may be long, we are grateful for hte prayers and excellent medical care and treatment that resulted in his successful surgery and improvement thus far.
“The extent to which the UGA officials and community have embraced our student-athlete is remarkable and it speaks volumes to their character and kindness.”
Here is the complete text of the letter: