Brothers and Walk Again Athletic Warriors founders, Stephen ‘13 and Brandon Purcell ‘17, are at the forefront of the movement to give all SCI athletes a chance to lead their normal lives, not least by learning to walk again. Athletics have always been their passion. Although Stephen and Brandon were varsity soccer players, they took their athletic abilities and applied their kicking skills to the football field as walk on kickers. Unfortunately one of Tulane’s players, Devon, was paralyzed as the result of a hit during a game against Tulsa. “Devon was a motivating factor in each of our decisions to play football. We had always heard it was incredibly challenging to balance a vigorous course load and play a Division I sport; but after the coaches realized we could kick far, yet accurate field goals in our respective years, they told us stories of other walk ons like Devon. Even though 5:30am workouts were grueling, Devon was there.”
After the incident, before running onto the field for games, we would huddle together to chant “This one’s for Devon.” He continues to be an inspiration to the Purcell brothers and till this day while Brandon followed Stephen in the path of becoming a Tulane football player, Devon is on the sidelines of every game to help lift the team’s spirit. Brandon and Stephen spearheaded the effort to bring Devon’s story to various NFL teams, and surprised him with numerous donated pieces of NFL memorabilia while helping to raise funds for his medical expenses. Devon’s experience only amplified the Purcell brothers’ aspiration to ease the suffering of others.