Even though CPR is one of the most important lessons we can learn, it’s also something we hope we’ll never have to use. Can you imagine just completing a life-saving training course and then having to test out your skills the very next day—on your best friend?
St. Petersburg teen Torri’ell Norwood was behind the wheel of her car when it was T-boned by a speeding driver. The crash hurled the car containing 16-year-old Norwood and her three passengers across someone’s front lawn, where the car barreled into a tree.
After the force of the impact crushed Norwood’s door, she was forced to climb through her window to get out. Two of her passengers, both unhurt, were also able to extricate themselves from the vehicle.
But as they started to make their way clear of the wreckage, Norwood realized that her friend A’zarria Simmons was still in the car.
“When I turned around, I didn’t see A’zarria running with us,” Norwood told CNN. “So, I had to run back to the car as fast as I can. She was just sitting there unresponsive.”
Simmons had hit her head on a rear passenger window. The blunt-force trauma resulted in life-threatening injuries.
After pulling Simmons from the car, Norwood checked her vital signs. Unable to detect a pulse, she immediately began employing the CPR techniques she’d so recently learned on Simmons.
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Norris had administered 30 compressions and two rescue breaths when Simmons regained consciousness. Paramedics arrived shortly thereafter and transported Simmons to the nearest Florida hospital.
Norwood learned her lifesaving skills at Lakewood High School’s Athletic Lifestyle Management Academy. Her instructor, Erika Miller, was both awed and astonished by her student’s stellar performance.
Miller noted that most of her former students never have cause to use their CPR training until they’re studying to become nurses or EMTs. “But not while they were still a student of mine or definitely not within 24 hours,” she told CNN, adding proudly: “This is what every teacher dreams of, you know, that somebody listens, pays attention, learns something.”
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When Simmons woke up in the hospital, she didn’t remember the accident, but there’s little doubt she’ll ever forget the BFF who’d paid attention in class—and saved her life.
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Way to go, Torri’ell Norwood. You are a hero!