Ex-Gwinnett football player hurt in crash faces long rehab

Family and friends are coming together to raise money to help a former star football player at Buford High School recover from a motorcycle crash that left him hospitalized with critical injuries.

Devin Durden, 21, was riding a motorcycle on Ga. 20 in Gwinnett County on Sept. 26 when he crashed into a sport utility vehicle that pulled out in front of him near Gravel Springs Road.

Durden, who played football at the Air Force Academy, was thrown from his bike and sustained multiple broken bones and a severed spine that could leave his paralyzed from the waist down, Channel 2 Action News reported.

“Devin Durden has had a rough couple of days,” Stuart Hall told Channel 2. Hall is assistant to Durden’s father Gene Durden, the longtime head girls basketball coach at Buford High.

“He’s in critical condition, but I think what we’ve learned is we can’t be too high when there’s a high and we can’t be too low when there’s a low,” Hall said.

Devin Durden was at home on a visit when the wreck happened.

Since the accident, Durden has undergone surgeries and has been on a respirator. He was taken off the respirator for a time but has contracted pneumonia and is back on the respirator.

“When he was off the respirator for 12 hours last week … he mentioned his brother Christian’s name. He said Christian, then to Coach Durden, ‘Let’s go home,’” Hall said.

Hall and others have started two websites, including friendsofthedurdens.org, to raise money to help the family pay their medical bills and future living expenses and to buy a special vehicle so Devin Durden can get around.

Hannah Manley, a senior at Buford High who is close to the Durden family, said, “The teachers are all asking me, because they know I’m close, ‘How is he doing? How is the family?’ They’re all just really concerned, and I know they’re praying for him.”

Hall said that he hopes donations will come in to the family so that “when he finally gets to come home, we are able to serve them well.”

After Durden leaves Gwinnett Medical Center, he will still face extensive physical rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center, Hall said.