At their best, sports bring people together in the most important of ways.

That’s exactly what has happened with the Georgia and Southern football programs following an injury suffered by a Jaguars player in last Saturday’s game.

Devon Gales was injured in the third quarter of the game. It was later determined he had several fractures in his neck that required surgery.

On Monday, Georgia coach Mark Richt tweeted his support for Gales and called on Bulldogs fans to help the Southern football player with his medical expenses by contributing to the Devon Gales fund.

Southern University president Ray Belton sent an open letter to Georgia on Wednesday, thanking the school for what it has have done for Gales.

It reads:

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
 

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