Chris Norton, Luther College student, speaks to Spring Grove School students about his severe football injury and how he has faced that challenge moving forward.
Chris Norton, Luther College student, speaks to Spring Grove School students about his severe football injury and how he has faced that challenge moving forward.
"What determines your success in life is how you respond to life's challenges, not your circumstances." These words of wisdom come from a 21 year old who has been faced with many challenges. He recently spoke to students at Spring Grove Public School.

Chris Norton is a sophomore at Luther College in Decorah. Three years ago, when he was a freshman, he was playing for the Luther College football team and suffered a severe injury.

"I remember it like it was yesterday; we were halfway through the season and I was trying to make a name for myself as a freshman. I remember wanting to make the tackle, wanting to make the play. I dove across to tackle the player from Central College, my shoulder pads and helmet moved in such a way that a big gap formed and my opponent's knee fit right in, causing a freak accident," Chris recalled. "At first I thought it was just a big stinger and that I'd be numb for a minute, but this time I was face down and I couldn't move. In my head I was thinking, 'Get up! You don't want the trainers to come out here!' I didn't want the attention.

"They rolled me on my back and were feeling my toes and hands and asked if I could feel that. I said, 'No, you're not touching me.' They asked me to move my arms and legs and I couldn't even feel them. I knew it was serious when they called the helicopter.

"The scariest moment was when I started to lose my ability to breathe. They talked of doing a tracheotomy, but that could have damaged my neck more. I closed my eyes and focused on counting every breath that I took."

Chris had fractured his C3-C4 vertebrae. He was flown to Mayo Clinic in Rochester where they did