Chris Norton, a former college football player who broke his neck during a game in 2010, said he was given a 3 percent chance of ever regaining movement below his neck.
Over a life-changing weekend, he beat the odds and then some.
On Saturday, he got engaged.
Then on Sunday, Norton walked across the stage at his graduation from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, accomplishing a goal he had set over a year ago. Assisted by his fiancee, Emily Summers, Norton rose from his wheelchair and took steps in front a cheering crowd to receive his diploma in business management, KCCI reported.
“It was like my gameday,” Norton, 23, told The Des Moines Register. “I was in the zone, focusing on what I needed to do and not worrying about anyone or anything else.”
According to NBC, Norton has gradually regained movement while in therapy. He’s also launched a foundation called SCI CAN to help finance high-priced equipment for people recovering from spinal injuries. In part to provide inspiration for spinal cord injury patients, he publicly declared he would walk at his ceremony. He completed school a semester early to train for the big moment, the network reported.
When “gameday” arrived, Norton was ready. “So many people, including myself, fear failure, it’s human,” he said to the network. “But if you do everything in your power to accomplish your dreams, at the end of the day, you can be proud and happy with how far you’ve come.”
Getting a life partner and overcoming the odds on graduation day added up to 48 memorable hours. But Norton says we ain’t seen nothing yet.
“This is just one chapter of my life that just got closed,” he said in his YouTube graduation video. “And there’s still so many things I can accomplish.”
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