Phillip Thompson

Crime Fiction writer

So, a long time ago …

chuckyThere was an Ole Miss football player named Chucky Mullins. Number 38, defensive back. Chucky graduated from Alabama’s Russellville High School in 1988. He earned All-Conference, All-Area and All-State honors in football as a junior and senior. He was team captain and most valuable player on his high school team. He also earned three letters in football, basketball and baseball. Because of his athletic and leadership abilities, Chucky was awarded a four-year scholarship to Ole Miss, and he arrived on campus in the summer of 1988.

During the 1989 homecoming game against Vanderbilt, Chucky tackled Vandy receiver Brad Gaines on what looked like a standard tackle. But the hit shattered four vertebrae in Chucky’s neck, instantly paralyzing him.

The team and the community, devastated, rallied around Chucky. An overwhelmingly white, privileged Mississippi university led the campaign that raised more than $1 million to assist Chucky in his recovery. The city of Oxford donated land to build a customized, handicap-accessible house for him, where he lived until his death in 1990.

 

ChuckyMullins3

Photo: The Local Voice

 

During his agonizing stay in a Memphis hospital, Chucky had lots of visitors — including President George H.W. Bush, who was in town for official business. He took the time to stop by and visit Chucky and offer some words of encouragement.
RIP, Mr. President. You’re one of the good guys.

 

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