7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story Parent Guide
This movie's joyful journey into a fulfilling life makes it an easy pick for family viewing.
Parent Movie Review
Paralyzed and lying in a hospital bed, Chris Norton has a critical realization: “The little things I do extra are going to make the difference between what I can and cannot do.” This insight will guide Chris’s life for the next seven years and will be the beginning of a miracle.
A few short days before, Chris was playing football for Iowa’s Luther College when a freak accident led to a spinal cord injury that eliminated sensation and movement below his neck. “It felt as if someone just turned the power off to my body and I couldn’t feel a thing,” the young athlete said.
Luckily for Chris, he was airlifted to the Mayo clinic where he received outstanding medical and rehabilitative care. But getting out of the hospital was only the beginning…
7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story is a documentary about the years after Chris’s accident. As I watched Chris regain sensation and movement, enabling him to walk down the aisle at his wedding, I realized that his miracle did not simply happen. Chris can do remarkable things because of his fierce will and work ethic, a loving and encouraging family, and an incredibly supportive community.
Documentaries aren’t usually popular choices for family movie night, but I’m going to recommend this film unreservedly for tweens and teens. There are just enough sports to draw them in, but they will be held by the undeniable power of Chris’s story. And who wouldn’t want adolescents to learn about the benefits of unrelenting hard work and a stubborn refusal to quit?
Also beneficial for young viewers are the movie’s inspiring messages about family and community. I wasn’t surprised by the devotion of Chris’s parents, but I was amazed by his friends. Less than a year after the accident, Chris returns to college, living in the dorm with his buddies. Astonishingly for 19 year olds, his friends rise to the challenge of caregiving, helping Chris dress, brush his teeth, and get to his classes. And they ensure that he’s part of the social whirl, going out of their way to include him at parties and inner tubing down the river.
The best part of the film comes when Chris meets Emily Summers, a small town Iowa girl with a passion for helping kids in the foster care program. It’s love at first sight for Chris and pretty soon Emily doesn’t see the wheelchair anymore. Watching this young couple face and overcome their challenges to create a new family is a joy-filled, heartwarming experience.
Packed full of positive messages, 7 Yards is a surefire win for family viewing. Christian families will appreciate the Norton family’s strong faith, but this isn’t a preachy film and won’t turn off viewers who don’t share the same beliefs. The movie’s lessons about the power of love, faith, and unrelenting effort will encourage and uplift audiences lucky enough to watch this young man’s remarkable journey.Directed by Jonathon Link. Starring Chris Norton, Emily Norton. Running time: 93 minutes. Theatrical release February 23, 2021. Updated March 4, 2021
Watch the trailer for 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story
7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story
Rating & Content Info
Why is 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story rated Not Rated? 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: There are frequent football tackles. A young man is paralyzed in a football accident. He undergoes medical procedures which could unsettle some viewers.
Sexual Content: An man and woman kiss on a few occasions.
Profanity: None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.
Page last updated March 4, 2021
7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story Parents' Guide
How does Chris motivate himself to work so hard in the face of such long odds? Have you ever had to do something that seemed impossible?
You can learn more about Chris Norton on his website.
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Chris Norton has co-authored two books about his experiences recovering from his accident. The Power of Faith When Tragedy Strikes: A Father-Son Memoir was written with his father, Terry Norton. The Seven Longest Yards: Our Love Story of Pushing the Limits While Leaning on Each Other was written with his wife, Emily.
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