Former Tulane football player Devon Walker cleared a major milestone on Tuesday (Aug. 27) when the senior returned to the classroom at Tulane University for the first time in just under a year.
Devon Walker discusses this year’s Green Wave football team with Chad Jenkins, left, and Kwahn Drake during a fundraiser at Dat Dog. Jenkins is a graduate assistant linebacker/special teams coach and Drake is a graduate assistant defensive line coach. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)
A native of nearby Destrehan, La., Walker suffered a cervical spine fracture on the final play of the first half in the Green Wave’s game at Tulsa, Okla., on Sept. 8, 2012. Walker spent 10 days in Tulsa before he was transported to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga., where he spent the next three months.
Walker returned home in December and has been undergoing rehabilitation three days a week at nearby Touro Infirmary Hospital.
Walker, who is paralyzed from the neck down, has been determined to complete his Tulane degree in cell and molecular biology since his injury. He is taking three classes this semester and needs 30 hours to complete his bachelor’s degree.
Walker will now spend five days a week uptown, either in rehab at Touro or in class at Tulane.
On the first day of classes at Tulane on Aug. 26, the Dat Dog restaurant on Freret Street donated a portion of its sales to the Devon Walker Fund and let Walker add a new item — the Devon Dog
— to its menu. Walker’s contribution features a beef hot dog, chili, cheese, onions and sprinkled bacon. As of late Wednesday, Aug. 28, Dat Dog had raised $1,244 for the Devon Walker Fund
On Thursday (Aug. 29), Walker and his family were planning to return to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to cheer on the Green Wave in its season opener against Jackson State University at 7 p.m. Walker was planning to address his former coaches and teammates and coaches in the locker room prior to the game and take in the game from the sideline.
Roger Dunaway is assistant athletics director for athletics communications.