Tulane retires number of Devon Walker, who was paralyzed making tackle in 2012

Members of the Tulane Green Wave football team wear the number 18 showing support for injured player Devon Walker at the Louisiana Superdome on September 22, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Tulane retired Devon Walker’s No. 18 jersey on Thursday night.

Walker was paralyzed during a game on Sept. 8, 2012, when he played defensive back for the Green Wave. He has been an integral part of the program ever since. And ahead of the season opener against Wake Forest, he was forever immortalized — and not just in the world of Tulane football.

In all sports.

That’s right. Walker’s No. 18 will never be worn again by any player in any Tulane program.

Before every home game, one Tulane player will bring a No. 18 flag out onto the field. Defensive back Taris Shenall was given the honors on Thursday.

Walker joined the football team as a walk-on in 2009 and quickly made an impact. By the time his junior year rolled around, he was on full scholarship. But it was the second game of his senior year against Tulsa when he was injured while trying to make a tackle.

Yahoo Sports’ Eric Adelson described the play in a story detailing Walker’s recovery in 2013:

A doctor who tended to Walker would compare the collision to a car wreck, or when a diver hits an unseen rock underneath shallow water. Walker’s vertebrae squeezed against his spinal cord so forcefully that it cut off his breathing mechanism and nearly severed the cord altogether. If it weren’t for the quick response of both Tulsa and Tulane medical staff tending to him as his blood pressure fell, Walker would have died on the field.

It was a grueling road, but Walker, who doesn’t have any feeling below his shoulders, was able to graduate from Tulane in 2014. He subsequently earned a master’s degree last year.

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