Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson said Monday that Green Wave senior safety Devon Walker, who sustained a cervical spine fracture in Saturday's game at Tulsa, is "alert and responsive and continues to be."
"We're absolutely thrilled with that fact," Dickson said during a teleconference with media, his first public comments since Walker's injury. "We hope and pray progress continues. We realize he's in the hands of extremely competent, committed, dedicated professionals and in God's hands."
Dickson, a Tulsa native, did not return to New Orleans with the Green Wave team on Saturday, staying behind with Walker and his family.
Walker's parents, Booker and Inez, were not at the game but arrived in Tulsa later Saturday. Walker underwent surgery to stabilize his spine Sunday at St. Francis Hospital – coincidentally, the same medical facility where Dickson's four children were born.
"My own situation, I've kind of put everything else on hold," said Dickson. "It's most important that we're here to support. We're just 24 hours off the surgery, so it's day one of the next step of his future."
During the teleconference, Dickson read a statement from the Walker family.
The statement read: "We have been overwhelmed by the amount of concerned well wishes we have received from all over the world. Although we cannot respond individually to all, we thank everyone for the love and support shown to Devon and our family. The medical care that our son has received so far has been outstanding. We are also very grateful for the care and concern shown to us by those here at Tulsa University, in the City of Tulsa, at Tulane University and of course by everyone at home in New Orleans. We appreciate you respecting our family's request for privacy. We do ask that you continue to keep Devon in your prayers."
Dickson deferred all questions about Walker's medical condition to Tulane team physician Dr. Greg Stewart, including a question about head coach Curtis Johnson's statement earlier Monday at the Greater New Orleans Quarterback Club that Walker had movement in his shoulders.
Tulane is accepting financial gifts to help defray Walker's medical costs, either through the university or Capital One Bank.
Earlier Monday, the College Football Assistance Fund announced a $10,000 donation to the Devon Walker Fund.
"This is family," Dickson said. "This is one of us. When anything like this happens, we're all impacted. Serious adversity reveals the best of who we are."
The university has a web page dedicated to updates on Walker at www.tulane.edu/devonwalker.
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