An Altoona man is fighting to walk again after a spinal cord injury during a college football game

Andy Fales Reporter
11:17 a.m. CST, March 8, 2011

Steps. It is a relative term, one of many in the new life of Chris Norton.

"Sometimes it feels like if you try to go slow and easy it's really hard," says Chris, "once you kind of get in a rhythm it feels really relaxed and easy."

Easy. That's another relative term, one once simple to consider, and one that's not anymore.

"I never knew how complicated walking was until now. All the different things that have to be in place."

Healing a body from a spinal cord injury is much the same. It demands patience despite aggravation; strength from foreign limbs and endless, minute, excruciating steps.

"If I can just get my right I wouldn't have to step over as much with my left. It would go a lot smoother."

"That's the first question that even patients and their family ask, especially of the neurosurgeon," says Megan Gill, a physical therapist at the Mayo Clinic who's been working with Chris daily since last fall. "After they come out of surgery it's 'Am I ever going to walk again?' or 'Is my family member ever going to walk again?' So it's what a lot of people focus their whole rehab and their therapy goals on is the walking."