Florida teen saves best friend’s life one day after completing CPR training

Torri'ell Norwood used her newfound knowledge of CPR to save the life of A'zarria Simmons

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A Florida teenager who just learned CPR was able to utilize her new skills a day later and save the life of her best friend.

Torri’ell Norwood and A’zarria Simmons, both 16, have been friends since the seventh grade but their bond deepened this past February, CNN reported. They were involved in a car accident on Feb. 20 when another driver slammed into Norwood’s vehicle. Simmons was left unconscious, not breathing, and without a pulse.

Florida Simmons Norwood thegrio.com
Torri’ell Norwood (in the back) and A’zarria Simmons. (Credit: Norwood/screenshot)

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Just the day before, Norwood received her certification for CPR from Athletic Lifestyle Management Academy. It’s a program at St. Petersburg’s Lakewood High School where she is a junior.

“I never would have thought that I would be the one, out of all the students in my class to have to perform it on someone,” Norwood recently told CNN.

Norwood and Simmons had been driving in the car with two other people when the crash happened. Norwood climbed out the window while the two others were able to escape uninjured. However, Simmons passed out after hitting her head.

Norwood pulled Simmons from the wreckage while avoiding shattered glass.

“A lot of people started to gather around to see what was happening. I started yelling, ‘Back up, back up, she needs space,” Norwood explained.

Norwood then put into use the CPR skills she’d just learned by performing 30 compressions and two rescue breaths.

“That’s when I checked her pulse on her neck. I put my head against her chest, and I didn’t really hear nothing. So that’s when I just started doing CPR on her.”

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With her friend’s efforts, Simmons was able to regain consciousness before the paramedics arrived who then transported her to the hospital. She received stitches on her forehead for a gash.

“I don’t remember the hit or anything about accident. But when I woke up, I was in the hospital. I was in shock. I was trying to figure out how I got there,” Simmons said.

Simmons said Norwood’s quick thinking is a hallmark of their friendship.

“I wasn’t shocked by her doing it because she always does stuff for me,” Simmons told Inside Edition. “She always has my back. It’s 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 wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Norwood Simmons Florida thegrio.com
(Credit: Norwood)

“That’s my friend, so I was going to do anything I could have,” Norwood said.

Norwood’s instructor, Erika Miller, expressed her pride in the way she handled the emergency situation.

“I was just absolutely astounded,” Miller told CNN. “I have former students come back once they’re in nursing school or have gone on to pursue careers as EMTs and say ‘Oh my gosh, you know, this is what it was like’ but not while they were still a student of mine or definitely not within 24 hours. This is what every teacher dreams of, you know, that somebody listens, pays attention, learns something.”

Simmons and Norwood have both decided to go into the medical field.

“I do want to be a nurse,” Norwood said. “I know that if somebody was in need of help, I’d go to the rescue.”

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