On October 16, 2010, Chris Norton, a freshman at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, was playing in a varsity football game when a special teams play left him with a fractured neck and compressed spinal cord. The incident resulted in him having no feeling below the area. After surgery, the physicians at Mayo Clinic informed him of his grim prognosis: Chris was expected to have a mere 3 percent chance of regaining movement below the injury site. Three months later, after weeks of intensive therapy and Chris’ sheer determination to walk again, he has overcome the odds and now has partial mobility in all four limbs. Each day yields promising results, as he continues to improve and rebuild his strength.
Backed by a powerful, compassionate network of family, friends and even strangers, Chris has gained not only regional but national attention as well. He has been mentioned on ESPN and has received an outpouring of support from college and professional-level coaches and athletes around the country. His story is an inspiration to many, and the acronym of Chris’ initials—C.A.N.—has served as a reminder to those around him that this young man certainly can do anything.