Kendrick Norton is not letting his life-changing injury keep him down.
The Miami Dolphins defensive tackle, who recently lost his arm in a rollover car crash, gave fans a look inside his new reality on Wednesday, as he showed his amputated limb in a video posted to his joint YouTube account with his girlfriend Kira.
While Norton, 22, cleaned his unbandaged wound in their bathroom, the NFL star spoke out about his mentality in the weeks following the crash and how he has adjusted to his new life with one arm.
“Honestly, the biggest thing is stuff takes a little longer because I only have one arm,” Norton told his girlfriend, who recorded the video. “I have to take the extra step to do something. That’s the most aggravating part.”
Though the injury was far from ideal, especially as a professional football player, Norton said he was never in denial about it and instead, changed his outlook on the situation.
“I always knew this was for real. I stopped being mad about it,” he explained, adding that he even gave his amputated arm a new nickname — “Lil Ken!”
“You’re still alive, don’t be angry. You’ll get better,” he continued. “I’m trying to handle it the best I can. Don’t be down about it ’cause that’s not gonna fix anything.”
“Ain’t no point in crying every day and being sad and stuff,” Norton added. “Still got stuff to be done, still young, still alive.”
The NFL star, who continued cleaning his injury with soap and hydrogen peroxide, went on to share that he’s not suicidal and reassured his fans that he’ll be okay.
“Y’all don’t worry about me too much, I’m gonna be alright,” he said. “I’m strong … I’m okay.”
Norton also had an inspiring message to his younger fans and followers who may be going through similar situations.
“Don’t let what people say determine how you feel about yourself,” he said. “I know it’s hard for little kids because kids are cruel and make fun of other kids … [but] that’s [a] word to the wise for everybody.”
Norton, a standout while playing for the University of Miami, was selected in the 7th round of the 2018 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. He spent most of his first season on that team’s practice squad before later signing a deal with the Miami Dolphins.
On July 4, Norton’s agent confirmed on Twitter that the NFL star had his arm amputated following the deadly crash that occurred earlier in the day.
“With sadness, I can confirm that Kendrick Norton was in a car accident last night and suffered multiple injuries, including the amputation of his arm,” Kawa wrote on Twitter. “We ask that you continue to pray for him. His family also asks that the public respect Kendrick’s privacy.”
The Miami Dolphins also posted a message to Twitter following the crash, which read, “We were made aware this morning of a serious car accident involving Kendrick Norton. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kendrick and his family during this time.”
Norton, who was driving a truck, struck a concrete barrier and flipped over, reports stated. One of Norton’s arms became pinned beneath the truck, which landed on the truck’s roof.
Two passengers were also injured in the crash, The Sun-Sentinel reported.
A week after the incident, Norton confirmed on a GoFundMe page that his medical costs would be paid for in full by the NFL and revealed that the league reached out to him personally.
“The NFL reached out to Kendrick this morning to let him know that all of his medical costs will be covered,” the page said. “This is great news, but with his career over and no source of income currently, this has put a tremendous amount of financial strain on Kendrick and his family. Any continued support is appreciated. Thank you all.”
The fundraiser, which was created on July 8, has raised over $23,000 for the defensive tackle, with a goal set at $150,000.
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Norton’s agent, Malki Kawa, also confirmed to ESPN that both the league and the Miami Dolphins would fully cover all of Norton’s medical bills under their insurance policies.
Norton later shared a message on Monday to his 21,000 followers on his Instagram story, giving a thumbs up and writing, “I’m good thank you to everyone that checked on me!!! I’m good thanks for the prayers to God be the glory.”
The following day, he shared another hopeful message in one of his Instagram Stories, writing, “Thank you for today God!!”