Tulane retired Devon Walker’s No. 18 jersey on Thursday night.
Walker was paralyzed during a game on Sept. 8, 2012, when he played defensive back for the Green Wave. He has been an integral part of the program ever since. And ahead of the season opener against Wake Forest, he was forever immortalized — and not just in the world of Tulane football.
In all sports.
That’s right. Walker’s No. 18 will never be worn again by any player in any Tulane program.
What an inspiration. Today, @GreenWaveFB honors Devon Walker as they retire his number 18 across all sports.
Walker sustained a spinal injury in 2012 that left him paralyzed from the neck down. He never gave up and has earned both bachelors and masters degrees. pic.twitter.com/Xsu2lyD9QY
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) August 31, 2018
— We Are #NolaBuilt (@TulaneAthletics) August 31, 2018
Before every home game, one Tulane player will bring a No. 18 flag out onto the field. Defensive back Taris Shenall was given the honors on Thursday.
At every home game, the #18 flag is proudly carried onto the field in honor of @Devon_Walker18.
— Tulane Football (@GreenWaveFB) August 30, 2018
Walker joined the football team as a walk-on in 2009 and quickly made an impact. By the time his junior year rolled around, he was on full scholarship. But it was the second game of his senior year against Tulsa when he was injured while trying to make a tackle.
Yahoo Sports’ Eric Adelson described the play in a story detailing Walker’s recovery in 2013:
A doctor who tended to Walker would compare the collision to a car wreck, or when a diver hits an unseen rock underneath shallow water. Walker’s vertebrae squeezed against his spinal cord so forcefully that it cut off his breathing mechanism and nearly severed the cord altogether. If it weren’t for the quick response of both Tulsa and Tulane medical staff tending to him as his blood pressure fell, Walker would have died on the field.
It was a grueling road, but Walker, who doesn’t have any feeling below his shoulders, was able to graduate from Tulane in 2014. He subsequently earned a master’s degree last year.
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