Juan Kincaid / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS -- For the past two years, this is how Devon Walker has chosen to live his life by keeping it as normal as possible. Faced with the kind of daily challenges that many of us cannot comprehend, Walker has taken them all on and lived his life to the fullest.
Thursday night, he'll face his biggest challenge to date. Not another surgery or another difficult therapy session -- Walker will meet the men and women who saved his life two years ago.
'I don't know how it's going to affect me until I get there,' he said.
This will be Walker's first trip back at Tulsa since the play that left him motionless on the field and now has him paralyzed from the neck down.
He's going to be honored at halftime, given a chance to meet everyone that had a hand in him still being with us today.
'It always sinks in to me that I almost wasn't here today, so I'm just thankful for a second chance, or a third chance,' Walker said. 'I'm just grateful.'
He's grateful that he's been able to achieve some life-long goals. This past summer Walker got his degree from Tulane and he was added to the Saints' roster as a one-day player.
If the accident had never happened, these are things that Walker believes he would have achieved some day.
But life has a funny way of humbling you, challenging you, seeing if you can get up off the mat. Walker has his daily struggles, such as trying to breathe without his ventilator, needing to be patient with his recovery from a severe spinal cord injury.
Life is not easy now, but his family and especially his teammates, continue to rally.
'Even if I'm not able to participate physically, mentally and emotionally I'm there with all the players.'
Walker said since his accident two years ago in Tulsa, he's gone through a range of emotions, from feeling shocked and ashamed to now feeling proud of himself of well his recovery has gone and just how far he's come.
And he's looking forward to what's next in life, vowing that he will walk again, Walker says, sooner rather than later, calling his journey a marathon and not a sprint.
And his first steps toward that goal will be Thursday night in Tulsa.
'I'm just going to take it like I did with football. You prepare as much as you can, but you never really know what's going to happen to you. So once everything starts to roll, then I'll know, I guess.'