Southern University president sends open letter thanking UGA for caring of injured player

Devon Gales, a sophomore receiver, suffered a severe spinal injury last Saturday.

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:

September 30,2015

 

An open letter to University of Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity, Head

Coach Mark Richt, UGA officials, and the entire UGA community

 

A history-making Southern University Jaguar football game on the road against nationally ranked University of Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Georgia, Saturday, September 26, 2015, has exemplified the true nature of sportsmanship, caring, and generosity.

 

During the third quarter of play in the Jaguars’ first match up against a Southeastern Conference team, SU wide receiver Devon Gales suffered a spinal injury. Devon underwent successful spinal surgery Sunday afternoon at Athens Regional Medical Center and is in good spirits.

 

From the moment of the accident, UGA and SU sports medicine 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. UGA Athletic 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.

 

At the medical center following the game, SU Head Coach Dawson Odums and members of the Jaguar Football team gathered with UGA Head Coach Mark Richt, other members of the UGA coaching staff, and team chaplains, to visit Devon. 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 the 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.

 

I must also commend the UGA community for its hospitality shown to our athletic staff, team, and fans in and around Sanford Stadium. From excellent accommodations, to a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, we were pleased. On behalf of the Southern University System and the Southern University Department of Athletics, I extend a huge thank you to UGA officials, students, and alumni, the UGA community, and the Athens Regional Medical Center, for their care and support of Devon.

 

Best wishes,

 

Ray Belton

President-Chancellor, Southern University

NextSouthern’s Devon Gales transferred to Atlanta’s Shepherd Center
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