It happened over a week ago and still Tulane's Devon Walker is not breathing on his own. "All the communication has been non-verbal, he has remained on a ventilator through this period" Green Wave athletic director Rick Dixon told us. Rick is a Tulsa native, a former TU player and he was the athletic director at Tulsa in the 1990's in his first exclusive one-on-one interview Dickson told us despite the fact Devon can't talk, he can communicate. "That mind and those eyes, every facial expression he has, we’ve gotten to experience it all.”
Walker’s family watched the game from their home in Louisiana. Dickson said Devon’s father Booker knew immediately what was going on. “He’s retired EMT, so he certainly knows.” From the first phone call in the ambulance he knew the nature of what was being dealt with.”
Sounding tired but determined, Rick said the plan now is already laid out. “The next step is being able to transport him to a spinal cord injury center somewhere.” As for where, that is yet to be determined “we’re in that process now of helping the family identify what would be the best fit and accommodations for Devon.”
Walker was close to graduating from Tulane and was headed to medical school with the goal of becoming either a pharmacist or a doctor. Rick pointed out that means Devon understands his situation “he’s obviously very aware of what’s happened and what he’s dealing with.”
I’ve known Rick Dickson for more than 20 years. He said he called me because he wanted to deliver a message. “I wanted the chance to say through you just thank you to my hometown, to Tulsa, to my alma mater.”
Dickson said the outpouring of support was overwhelming and it started immediately. “Bill Warren called me in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, he told me he had his best neurosurgeon, his best trauma doctor, all standing by.” Then other donations poured in. Henry Primeaux provided a car and Greg McGill fed the workers and family. “It was just overwhelming” Dickson said softly.
Dickson told KRMG the best news so far may have come in the form of an offer. “A doctors group offered him a job as a pharmacist.”
He can’t take that job right now, but Tulane’s Devon Walker and his family are determined to make sure that one day, he can.