Buford athlete's recovery progressing

Devin Durden

Devin Durden

Former Buford and Air Force Academy football player Devin Durden continues to recover from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident this past Wednesday near the Mall of Georgia.

And the 21-year-old has endured some ups and down throughout the weekend.

The news was not so good initially after surgery performed at Gwinnett Medical Center on Thursday revealed that his spine was severed in the accident, according to a statement released on a website set up to search for donations to help the Durden family with his medical bills.

"Devin had surgery on Thursday to stabilize his spine and the doctors confirmed that his spine was, in fact, severed and that he will be paralyzed from the waist down," read the statement posted on www.friendsofthedurdens.org late Saturday night. "They do expect he will make a good recovery for his upper body and should be able to use his arms."

Durden's father, Buford girls basketball coach Gene Durden, has confirmed that Devin's recovery has progressed considerably better over the weekend.

"He's really done great the last 12 hours," Gene Durden said when contacted Sunday afternoon. "He's taken a turn for the better. They've got him off the ventilator, and he's breathing on his own. That's a really big positive. And he's a little bit more responsive to our voices, but we're letting him rest right now. He's still got a lot of healing to do, but he's a real strong young man."

Gene Durden also reiterated Sunday the appreciation of his entire family of the outpouring of well wishes they've received since the accident.

"It's just incredible the support we've gotten," Gene Durden said. "It's unreal, and I can't tell you how much we appreciate it."

The support coming from throughout Buford, Gwinnett County and elsewhere throughout north Georgia also includes the friendsofthedurdens.org site.

It was established by a family friend of a former player of Gene Durden's when he was coach at Dade County High School in Trenton. It is to provide updates on Devin's condition, but also to collect donations to help the Durden family with the medical bills and other expenses that will accumulate.

Donations can be made by visiting the site and following the links, and all funds received will be placed in the form of giftcards and delivered to the family.

The accident that injured Devin Durden occurred on Ga. Highway 20 near the intersection of Gravel Springs Road as he was on his way to eat with his brother, according to his father, who said a car pulled out in front of his son around 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

Devin Durden, a 2009 Buford grad, was a key player on the Wolves' 2007 and 2008 state championship football teams. A three-time scholar-athlete in high school, he went to the Air Force Academy, where he played three years of football as a tight end. The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder returned home recently and had enlisted in active duty, his father said.