8/8 Day: Georgia Tech celebrates life of Demaryius Thomas

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From Atlanta to Denver, Demaryius Thomas sported the No. 8 and No. 88 on his back every time he stepped on the field.

Georgia Tech decided no day would be better to remember the late legend than declaring August 8 as Demaryius Thomas Day.

“Today, we honor the legacy of Demaryius Thomas, who was an inspirational force in the lives of friends, family, teammates and fans. We miss him and will never forget him. We’ll share our memories of him and make a positive impact on others in our community,” Georgia Tech posted Monday morning.

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The Thomas family, friends, former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and former Tech safety Morgan Burnett were among the attendees for a special ceremony at Bobby Dodd Stadium for Thomas to mark 8/8 day.

Georgia Tech unveiled a DT 8 logo on the 25-yard line. Manning also spoke about the new scholarship his foundation is setting up in memory of Thomas.

“I wanted to do something. I’ve been part of several scholarships before. I don’t think there’s a better gift than the gift of education. The fact that all the scholarship recipients are from the same area he grew up in, that’s important. That’s Demaryius. That’s who he was,” Manning said.

“The bond we built, we built a brotherhood. Anything to support and remember his legacy, I’m on board to help in any way possible,” Burnett said. “You can Google the stats, the numbers. But you can’t Google the person he was off the field. Just an unselfish person.”

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Thomas grew up in Laurens County, where he played high school football at West Laurens High School. He later signed to play college football at Georgia Tech.

Thomas is remembered as one of the best players in program history. His impressive career with the Yellow Jackets landed him a decade-long career in the NFL, including eight years with the Denver Broncos and a Super Bowl ring with Manning.

Thomas died at his Roswell home on Dec. 9, 2021 after he was found unresponsive in the shower.

Last week, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office released the autopsy and confirmed Thomas died from a seizure disorder complications.

Thomas’ parents confirmed that he suffered from seizures due to injuries from a car wreck. They also learned that Thomas suffered from Stage 2 chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, at the time of his death.

“He was paranoid all the time. But memory loss, I saw that as well. Every single day, he complained about having a headache,” said Bobby Thomas, Thomas’ father.

His parents told ABC News they weren’t sure at first about donating his brain to be studied. They are now sharing what they have learned to honor Thomas’ final wishes.

“At first, I didn’t want to do it. But then I remembered a conversation that DT and I had, where he said, ‘Mom, if anything ever happens to me, I want to be able to help other players.’”

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