Countdown to College Football Kickoff Day 38: Chucky Mullins’ Spirit Lives On (Video)


The 2015 college football kickoff is now just 38 days away, and the late Chucky Mullins, who wore number 38 at Ole Miss, embodies the strength and spirit of the game for all of us.

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Along with the joy and excitement that comes with the college football season, there are also memories of pain and tragedy. The Ole Miss Rebels went through a painful time in 1989, when Roy Lee “Chucky” Mullins suffered a horrific accident on the field.

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It was homecoming week in Oxford, and the Rebels were taking on the Vanderbilt Commodores. The party was quickly dashed however, when Mullins attempted to tackle Vanderbilt fullback Brad Gaines after a pass reception, hitting him head on. The impact of the collision with Gaines shattered four vertebrae in Mullins’ cervical spine, immediately paralyzing him.

Mullins was airlifted to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, undergoing five hours of surgery. Although he survived the ordeal, he was never able to have sensation below his neck again.

The outpouring of support from fans across the south was incredible. Not only Ole Miss fans, but those from all over sent well-wishes and made donations to help with the family’s medical expenses. Ole Miss established the “Chucky Mullins Trust Fund” to manage the over $1 million that had been donated, and the city of Oxford donated land for a special handicap-accessible house for Mullins and his family.

In Jun of 1990, Mullins returned to Ole Miss with the intention of completing his undergrad studies. It looked to be an incredible continuation of his courageous story. But less than a year after coming back to Oxford, Mullins was stricken with a fatal pulmonary embolism. He died in the hospital on May 6, 1991.

Mullins’ memory and spirit live on to this day in Oxford, as during the annual Grove Bowl — the Rebels’ spring game — the player who most embodies Chucky Mullins’ spirit and courage receives the “Chucky Mullins Memorial Courage Award”. That player is given the right to wear Mullins former jersey number 38.

The story of Mullins and Brad Gaines, who still regularly visits the Mullins family, is the subject of the SEC Storied documentary, “Its Time”.

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