Our Views: After heroic recovery, Southern's Devon Gales deserves cheerful welcome home _lowres

Advocate staff photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON -- Devon Gales looks at the Human Jukebox, Southern University cheerleaders, supporters and family as he make his way through being pushed by his sister Teah Gales at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport on Saturday, March 5.

The headlines these days don’t suggest an abundance of heroes, which is all the more reason to applaud the return of Devon Gales to Baton Rouge.

Gales arrived home earlier this month after more than five months in an Atlanta rehab hospital. The Southern University football player suffered a paralyzing injury last September when his team played an away game against the University of Georgia at Athens.

UGA officials and fans adopted Gales as one of their own during his stay in Georgia, extending many courtesies and gestures of support to Gales, his family and the Southern community. Their kindness and generosity have been a wonderful reminder that in a sports culture often derided for its mercenary zeal, true sportsmanship is still alive and well.

Southern’s Jaguar Nation gave Gales a first-class welcome home. Southern’s Human Jukebox marching band and cheerleaders were on hand at the airport as Gales got off the plane. He attended basketball games on campus, where he was recognized by fans.

We wish Gales well in his recovery, which he has faced with the kind of courage and good cheer few would expect of a 21-year-old.

In a crowded arena, as it turns out, a brave young man in a wheelchair stood tallest of all.