Tulane University safety Devon Walker is recovering after undergoing an operation to repair a fractured spine he received in a helmet-to-helmet collision last Saturday in a game against Tulsa.
Walker was a member of Destrehanís back-to-back state championship teams in 2007 and 2008, starting as safety on the 2008 squad.
He was injured when he tried to make a diving tackle and collided with a teammate on the final play of the first half. After the hit Walker lay motionless on the field before being taken away in an ambulance.
According to FOX Sports, the crowd went quiet as Walker was attended to and several coaches were in tears as he was taken away in an ambulance. Someone on the field led the stadium in prayer.
Walker underwent surgery on Sunday to repair the spinal damage and doctors say they will have a better idea of his condition and whether he will suffer permanent paralysis within the next few days.
For now, Tulane officials report Walker is alert and responsive and is in stable condition.
Tulane Athletic Director Rick Dickson said Walkerís parents, Booker and Inez Walker, are with him at the hospital and he read a statement on their behalf.
"We have been overwhelmed by the amount of concerned well wishes we have received from all over the world. Although we cannot respond individually to all, we thank everyone for the love and support shown to Devon and our family," the Walkers wrote.
After a successful senior season with Destrehan, Walker walked on to Tulaneís football team. He eventually earned a scholarship and became a starter at safety this year for the Green Wave.
Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux coached Walker for four years.
"He was unbelievable, just an overachiever. He is a guy who wasnít blessed with a whole lot of speed, but he was very smart," Robicheaux said. "His goal was to get an education from Tulane and he walked on to their football team and then earned a scholarship. He is just goal-oriented and a great person who always had a smile on his face."
Ashton Duhe, an offensive lineman at Southern Methodist University, was a teammate of Walkerís at Destrehan and in middle school.
"Heís a really nice person and down-to-earth. Heíll really help you out with anything you need help with," Duhe said. "Heís a really smart guy in the classroom. He took honors courses at Destrehan. Any time I had a problem with work I could ask him anything."
Duhe said he heard about his former teammateís injury while his team was on the bus on the way to their game against Stephen F. Austin.
"It was kind of freaky at first, but I mean football is a physical sport so you canít let somebody elseís injury bother you on the field," Duhe said. "It definitely gave me a heads up that anything can happen."
Walker is majoring in cell and molecular biology at Tulane.
More info on Devon Walker can be found at www.tulane.edu/devonwalker/index.cfm where donations are also being accepted to assist in his recovery.
Editor Jonathan Menard contributed to this story.
|hoto credit Parker Waters, Tulane Athletics Communications|