Georgia high school hires new coach who isn’t letting being paralyzed on the field prevent him from being a part of the game he loves

devon galesYouTube photo

When spring football begins in Georgia in a few weeks, Devon Gales will be coaching players at Jefferson High School, not that far from Sanford Stadium at the University of Georgia.

On the surface, there’s no big news in that first line. However, once you know the story of Gales, a former Southern University college football player, you’ll understand why spring ball is a big deal for the young man whose life changed in a second during a kickoff in Sanford Stadium in 2015.

Gales, who grew-up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, suffered a devastating hit on a kickoff that paralyzed him from the neck down. The Central High alum is now confined to a wheelchair.

Since that horrible day, the extended Georgia football community has been an integral part of Gales’ road to recovery. A university campaign raised over a quarter-of-a-million dollars to build the Gales family a new handicap-accessible home in Jefferson. It’s reported that Georgia head coachKirby Smart and his wife, Mary Beth, donated $10,000 from their foundation, The Kirby Smart Family Foundation.

Earlier this week, WSB-TV reported that Jefferson High head football coach Gene Cathcart has hired Gales as a new assistant coach. Carthcart has been Jefferson’s head coach in 2017 after successful head coaching stops at Habersham Central (Georgia) and Greenwood and Seneca in South Carolina.

Below is a quote from Cathcart from

“It was brought to our attention upon meeting this wonderful family that Devon missed the game and practices and being part of a football team in the game he still loved so much. Dr. John Jackson had the idea of getting him involved in our program in some way and how our young men would benefit from his living example, character, strength in facing adversity and perseverance.”

Gene Cathcart, Jefferson (Georgia) head coach from

Cathcart’s staff includes Boss Bailey, Champ Bailey’s brother who also played at Georgia and in the NFL for five years, mostly with the Detroit Lions. Champ will be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this year.

About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.