High school junior saves best friend’s life one day after learning CPR

Ama Nunoo March 22, 2021
Torri'ell Norwood (in the back) performed CPR on A'zarria Simmons. Photo: Torri'ell Norwood

With a career in the medical field in mind, a high school teenager enrolled in her school’s Athletic Lifestyle Management Academy, which teaches basic healthcare practices to students who want a career in health science. Just a day after getting her CPR certification, Torri’ell Norwood performed a lifesaving CPR on her best friend.

The 16-year-old’s CPR instincts kicked in after rescuing her unconscious friend, A’zarria Simmons, who had no pulse from the back seat of a car. Norwood accidentally drove the car into a tree on February 20.

The Lakewood High School junior was driving her best friend, Simmons, and two other friends home in St Petersburg when another car slammed into them from the driver’s side. Norwood hit the tree as she crashed into a nearby yard, according to CNN.

Adrenaline kicked in and three out of the four who were conscious started to run after they realized the other car was smoking and onlookers yelled at them to run for safety.

“I guess the other car was smoking… [so] I was almost all the way down the street, I was trying to run away,” Torri’ell told Inside Edition. “And that’s when I turned around and I didn’t see A’zarria with me. I immediately ran back to the car as fast as I [could] and I saw that she was unconscious, and she was not moving at all.”

Norwood said she managed to pull her out avoiding all broken glasses. Simmons, 16, had been knocked out after hitting her head on the backseat window losing all form of consciousness. “I immediately started doing CPR on her. She started moving on her own and breathing, so I knew that she was okay,” Torri’ell told Inside Edition. “I was just doing what I knew that I had to do.”

So, after 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths, Simmons slightly regained consciousness. Paramedics arrived and took her to the nearby hospital where she had many stitches on her forehead.

Simmons praised her ‘selfless’ friend for saving her life. The pair have been best friends since the seventh grade, and they have always had each other’s back. Simmons believes her best friend would have resuscitated anyone who needed help.

“I wasn’t shocked by her doing it because she always does stuff for me,” she told Inside Edition. “She always has my back. It is deeper than a friendship, it’s been deeper than that before this accident and all this happened. It’s just made me realize [that] if she weren’t there, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Erika Miller, Norwood’s instructor, could not be prouder of her student. Miller is happy to see that out of the 100 students enrolled in the health sciences academy, at least one of them truly paid attention to what she taught.

“It’s just one of the most amazing things.

“As a teacher, we hope all the time that somebody’s listening, paying attention, that they can find a way to take what they’ve learned in class into the real world.”

Norwood wants to be a nurse someday and Simmons also wants a career in the medical field.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 22, 2021


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