football-d3 flag | May 26, 2015

Formerly paralyzed player walks at graduation

Five years after an injury that derailed his football career, Chris Norton fulfilled a dream -- he walked across the stage as a graduate of Luther.

Doctors gave Norton a 3 percent chance of regaining movement below his neck due to an injury sustained while attempting to make a tackle on a kickoff play as a freshman for Luther against Central (Iowa) on October 16, 2010. According to Norton in the video above, he set a goal one year ago of being able to walk across the stage at graduation. He did so, alongside his fiancee whom he proposed to the previous day, in receiving his diploma to a standing ovation.

"It was like my gameday," Norton told Adam Wilson of the Des Moines Register. "I was in the zone, focusing on what I needed to do and not worrying about anyone or anything else.

"I didn't think it'd be so emotional. The energy in the room was really unbelievable, and it meant everything to have [Emily] there with me. It was the best weekend of my life."

Norton helped start the SCI CAN Foundation, which raises money to aid with the recovery and improve the quality of life for individuals with spinal cord injuries and other neurological disorders. He became a motivational speaker and has a book, The Power of Faith When Tragedy Strikes, coming out later this year.

Learn more about the SCI CAN Foundation