NEW ORLEANS -- For the first time since Tulane safety Devon Walker was seriously injured, his family is speaking out.
During a fundraising event dedicated to Walker Thursday night, Walker's sister, Yolan Walker-Bender said her entire family appreciates the outpouring from the community.
“It’s such a humbling experience, everything that’s been going on,” said Devon’s sister, Yolan Walker-Bender. “We appreciate everything that everybody has done, all of the prayers, all of the support.”
Walker fractured his spine in a Sept. 8 game against Tulsa. Since then, fundraisers through Tulane and Tulsa have collectively brought in nearly $130,000 by September 27th. That doesn't count private fundraisers like the one at Mardi Gras World Wednesday night.
The event drew dozens of people, with acts like Rockin' Dopsie. The food and venue were donated. The event was spearheaded by Kendall Glazer, a Tulane senior. She came up with the idea a week ago.
“I just wanted to help, and it was just so nice to see everyone in the community and Tulane just come together really quickly to do whatever they can,” Glazer said.
A spokesman for the Tulane sports department said the non-tax deductible donations will go to Walker's family to help cover costs associated with Walker’s recovery.
Walker is covered by the NCAA's insurance policy for student athletes who are catastrophically injured.
The plan includes up to $20 million in health care and recovery costs for a player's lifetime, if necessary.
It includes up to $6,000 in travel costs for each immediate family members up to two years after the accident. It also includes compensation for loss of wages for a parent or guardian. And it provides for up to $250,000 a year for a home health nurse, private duty nurse, and custodial care. Money is also provided for outpatient therapy and medical equipment.
Tulane University is covering the deductible.
You can find out more about the insurance policy at: http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/NCAA/NCAA+Insurance+Programs/Student+Athlete+Insurance+Programs/Catastrophic+Insurance+Program
Those who contributed Wednesday night said they just hope their donation sends Walker a message.
“I hope really and truly that it gives him a lot of encouragement, that people are supporting him and helping his family and helping him, and just maybe give him some encouragement to fight hard to come back,” said Leslie Dubroc.
Yolan Walker said the support “helps so much.”
“There’s so many things that he’ll need in the future. We don’t even know about some of the things yet that he’ll need in the future,” she said. “And we really just appreciate everything that everybody has done. We really do. We really do.”
Walker’s family wouldn’t go into much detail on Walker’s condition, but they do say he is in-patient rehabilitation out of state. He is speaking and is enjoying the letters that everyone is sending from around the country.
Click here for information on how you can help.