Mullins, 21, has worked to rehabilitate himself—he can now move his left arm about six inches—and has served as a source of inspiration for his former schoolmates and teammates. Last spring Mississippi's chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity asked Rebel coach Billy Brewer if it could present a Chucky Mullins Courage Award to the defensive back who performed best in spring practice. "I decided to take it a step further," says Brewer. "I said that whoever won the award would wear Chucky's number 38 the entire season."
Senior Chris Mitchell, who earned the coveted jersey, says wearing it is "a privilege and an honor. I feel like, as long as I'm out there with that jersey on, Chucky will always be playing football."
Mullins has moved into a new $70,000 house built for him half a mile from campus on land donated by the city of Oxford. The house has wide doorways, through which he can easily maneuver his wheelchair, and Mullins can turn on lights and other electrical devices merely by speaking into a computerized control box, which he has nicknamed Dufus, on his wheelchair. He'll say, for example, "Dufus, turn on the lights over my bed," and the lights will go on.
The house was constructed with a portion of the $825,000 in donations that have come in to help cover Mullins's living expenses (insurance has covered most of his medical bills). Among the contributions has been a $1,000 check from Auburn coach Pat Dye, though most of the donations have been smaller. "I wish you could see some of the letters we've gotten from youngsters," says Florian Yoste, Mississippi's executive director of university development. "More than once we've opened an envelope and found some dirty $1 bills inside. Some child has gone without lunch so he or she could give to Chucky."
"It's not in my heart to give up," says Mullins, who plans to return to school next spring to resume working toward his degree in physical education. He considers his injury a fluke and harbors no bitterness toward his sport. Indeed, Mullins says that someday he would like to become a football coach.