BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Tulane University football player's family is on pins and needles after he underwent neck surgery over the weekend.
Devon Walker, a senior, was injured on the last play of the first half of the Green Wave versus Tulsa.
He was trying to make a tackle when his helmet collided with that of another player. The safety never got up.
Walker was rushed to the hospital with a broken neck.
"They did surgery yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, and they stabilized his spine," said Dr. Greg Stewart, director of Tulane's sports medicine. "The ligaments had been torn. There was some fracture in there, so they went in and fixed everything that they needed to fix."
Stewart said Walker's spinal cord is not severed, but with all the swelling, it's difficult to tell if Walker will recover or be paralyzed.
"You never expect for a play like that to happen because you play it all your life," said Randall Gay, a former NFL defensive back.
Gay played for the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints during his pro career. He was released from the black and gold in 2011 after taking several brutal hits.
"Atlanta game, I go to make a tackle and I'm going for his legs and his knee hits me in the head and I get up and instantly, it's like something isn't right. I can't see," said Gay.
After four concussions within a year, Gay was forced to put his health before his love for football. Now, his prayers are with Walker.
"It's not even about him coming back and playing football. It's just about his life not changing, you know, dramatically," said Gay.
Had it not been for Gay's numerous injuries, he would not be at Southern University getting his law degree.
"I would probably be a real upset person like the rest of these fans right now from yesterday's game when the Saints lost. I still think I would be playing football," said Gay.
Walker will be kept in ICU for the next few days to determine his future.