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Volume 25 No. 151
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Former College Football Player Talks Perseverance Through Spinal Injury

Former Luther College (D-III) CB Chris Norton opened Day 2 of the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum with the keynote address, telling his story of perseverance after suffering a spinal cord injury while playing football. Norton was given a 3% chance of ever again moving anything below his neck, but recovered enough to do an assisted walk across the stage at his college graduation. He said of his rehab, “I wanted to give up, but I didn’t. So where does that resilience come from? Honestly, I can’t think of anything other than my experience as a student-athlete. ... I’ve had failures and disappointments in the classroom and on the field, but as a student-athlete, you know you have to keep showing up. So although my life was completely flipped upside down, I never lost the student-athlete in me. That gave me the mentality and confidence to keep going.” Norton has written a book on his experience, “The Seven Longest Yards,” and started a foundation.