Continuing the Legacy of Devaughn Darling

On February 2, 2000, Florida State University fulfilled a dream held by two young Bahamians when Coach Bobby Bowden offered Devard and Devaughn Darling invitations to become the newest part of the Seminole football family. Coach Bowden told their mother, Wendy Hunter, he and his staff would take care of her boys, offering comfort and assurance that her twins would be nurtured and mentored. The Darlings left their home in Houston, TX, excited about their future. They were determined to make their mark at the collegiate level and continue their careers in the National Football League.

Tragically Devaughn Darling would never fulfill this dream, but not by any choice of his own. He died the following year during preseason training camp of over exertion as he prepared for his second season with the Seminoles. His twin brother Devard Darling courageously continued playing the game of American Football, overcoming the obstacles placed in his path. The pain and unbearable grief of losing his closest friend and confidant served as fuel for his stellar collegiate career. In 2004, Devard achieved their dream; he was drafted in the 3rd round of the NFL draft, his life changed forever. Armed with his faith and the life lessons learned in his pursuit of their dream, he was ready to respond to the challenge of being an NFL player.

The family of Devaughn Darling sued Florida State University and was awarded a settlement of 2 million dollars. Unfortunately, it has been 9 years since Devaughn’s death, and the family is still fighting for justice and closure. FSU paid $200,000.00 to Devaughn’s parents; however the remaining $1.8 million has yet to be paid. The money, which will be used to build the first state of the art sports complex in their native Bahamas, is caught in the political confounds of the state of Florida.

Each year, Ms. Hunter and the rest of the Darling family have to relive Devaughn’s tragic death, and fight for his legacy. Ms. Hunter is forced to work with lobbyists and convince them of the significance of this settlement and Devaughn’s story so people will understand the suffering that was caused by the Florida State’s senseless, misguided, and neglectful actions.

February 26, 2010 marked the 9th anniversary of Devaughn’s death. We are asking news outlets to write follow-up stories to bring public awareness to the injustice done to this family. Moreover, we are asking this to raise awareness about the lack of institutional control over how training programs are conducted at every level in athletics. Young athletes are still dying due to over exertion and coaches’ neglect a full 9 years after Devaughn’s death. Other mothers are forced to bury their children because winning titles has taken preference over athletes’ well-being. How many athletes have to die before something is done?

Please join us in remembering the wonderful person and beautiful spirit Devaughn Darling was. You can help by sending letters to www.asonefoundation.org, and we will forward them to local newspapers in Florida, and the office of Governor Charlie Crist. Your support is greatly needed. We are also asking everyone that can please donate $1.00 to the As One Foundation, and encourage your friends to do the same. The foundation is changing the lives of young people both in the states and the Bahamas, and we want to do more, but your donations are needed.

God Bless

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Comments

  1. PORTIA BURROWS says

    my prayers and heart goes out to the family of Devaughn. God cares and he is gonna give you the desires of you heart. stay strong.

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