Paralyzed Tulane football player graduates

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POSTED: Monday, May 19, 2014 - 10:36am

UPDATED: Monday, May 19, 2014 - 4:02pm

A Tulane football player who was paralyzed from the neck down in a collision with a teammate fulfilled his dream Saturday.

Devon Walker graduated with a science degree from the New Orleans school.

Of the thousands of students graduating from Tulane University this year, president Scott Cowen points to one, Devon Walker, whose dedication serves as inspiration to the rest.

“He represents who we are and who we hope to be,” said Cowen.

It's not how he pictured his graduation day--in a wheelchair paralyzed from the neck down. But it's the culmination of more achievements than he could have ever imagined he could set out to accomplish.

“I'm very excited, just very excited. This day was a long time coming. I'm ready to start,” said Walker.

Jacob Davis, Walker’s friend says it’s inspiring. “For all of us, he's an inspiration, his positivity and optimism is relentless,” said Davis.

Walkers friends and fellow teammates adjust his cap, readying him for graduation as they have helped him do for two years.

“They've been wonderful, through my classes, through my therapy, helping me do what I needed to do and pushed me to be better than you know, just average. They'll all be a help to me,” Walker said.

But Walker’s friends say it's his determination that has kept him on track.

“He's come a long way. I'm very proud of him. To be able to come here and put on a smile, I'm proud of him,” said Kyle Davis.

An effort inspiring the likes of Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

After being honored at Tulane’s commencement, Brees recalled visiting Walker in Atlanta soon after his injury.

“He's one of those guys so special, so inspirational. He's destined for so many great things in his life. Just blessed to know him,” Brees said.

Walker has a future with a molecular biology degree, the goal of going to medical school and a will to keep pushing forward in every way he can.

“Never give up hope, no matter what. If you get discouraged, go out there and shoot for the skies.”

Walker was recently signed by the New Orleans Saints.

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