Plainview's Izzy Norton earns 2021 Chickasaw Nation Courage Award

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite
Plainview's Izzy Norton earned the 2021 Chickasaw Nation Courage Award.

Life is full of unexpected events, whether they happen during your youth or later down the road. Sometimes the unpredicted can be positive, but other times it’s something that can be life-altering.

Plainview High School’s Izzy Norton experienced the latter when a cardiac arrest in March 2020 nearly took her life. The situation could have changed her path in softball, but she didn’t let it and returned to playing the sport she loves. or that reason, Norton earns the 2021 Chickasaw Nation Courage Award.

“Izzy has a ton of courage to even risk the chance of something happening while playing softball,” said former Lady Indians coach Kenna Hunter. “It would have been easy for her to just close that chapter of softball and just go on about being a normal high school kid. But she found a way to fight back and do the thing that she loves, which is to play the game of softball. It takes a lot to be willing to do that and to take those risks.”

And even Norton agrees with that statement.

“I could definitely not have done anything — I could have quit,” she told the Ardmoreite in Sept. 2020. “But I’ve tried my hardest — worked out a little bit, trying to get my strength back and I’ve done as much as I can to go back to exactly how I was. And I’ve gotten there.”

It wasn’t an easy journey though.

According to her father, Mark, she wasn’t alive for almost 20 minutes following the cardiac arrest. But she pulled through and then had a defibrillator implanted before spending about three weeks in the hospital.

The whole ordeal is far from Norton’s mind though, even when she discussed the situation in September 2020.

“I try not to make everyone really notice,” she said. “I try to do everything everyone else does. I can't do everything everyone else can. I can’t work out like everyone can, but I try as much as I can.”

That determination doesn’t go unnoticed as she was named the freshman newcomer of the year during Plainview’s sports banquet. And Hunter had a few special words to say during the presentation. 

“I mentioned in front of about 50 people that she had probably been through more than anyone in there, and more than anyone will probably ever endure — she’s a miracle,” Hunter said. “In the future, when she gets older and gets married or has a job, the courage it took to overcome that and to get back on the field. Even something as simple as running scared her for a long time because she didn’t know how her heart would react to that. So all of those little steps are going to help her get through tough things that happen in her adult life.”