(CNSNews.com) - The New Orleans Saints announced this past weekend that they have signed former Tulane University safety Devon Walker.
Walker was paralyzed from the neck down following an injury to his C3 and C4 vertebrae during a 2012 football game against Tulsa. The injury never slowed him down from returning to the sidelines and becoming an inspirational leader for the college team over the last two seasons.
“When Devon got hurt, his football career was just starting to take off after three years of hard work,” Saints Coach Sean Payton said. “Despite the devastating injury he suffered, Devon refuses to let that define him. He is an outstanding young man, who is not only an inspiration to his coaches and teammates at Tulane, but to all of us."
"Devon’s character, determination, intelligence and work ethic are everything that we look for in a New Orleans Saint when we sign a player," Peyton continued. "This is the least we can do to recognize Devon and these attributes that we want all of our players to have.”
"I've been a Saint since before I was walking," said Walker, a native of Louisiana. "Just to be a part of this team, just to be around the players is more than I could have hoped."
According to the New Orleans Saints website, Walker has been recognized nationally for his inspirational attitude. In 2013, he received the Disney Spirit Award, an honor given annually by Disney Sports to college football’s most inspirational figure. He was honored by the New Orleans Fellowship Foundation and the organization renamed one of their annual awards the “Devon Walker Courage Award.”