Columbus State University

Columbus State girls basketball coach Norton determined to return Tuesday

Columbus State women's basketball coach Jonathan Norton.
Columbus State women's basketball coach Jonathan Norton.

Columbus State women's basketball coach Jonathan Norton was being wheeled into the emergency room at the North Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville last Wednesday night after collapsing on the sideline during a game.

Norton remembers turning his head and looking at his reflection in the glass, seeing the oxygen mask over his face.

"I remember thinking this is not a good look," Norton said Monday after leading his team through a practice. "I have a wife and two children. I have to take better care of myself. I am 42 years old, will be 43 in May. This should not be happening.

"It was a very surreal moment -- like what just happened."

Hitting the wood

Norton's team had a two-point lead, 52-50, over North Georgia with 8:50 left in the fourth quarter at Memorial Gym on the North Georgia campus in Dahlonega.

"I was uncommonly hot," Norton said. "I was wearing a sweater inside a small gym, which was probably not the smartest thing. I squatted down with the ball on the other end of the court. I stood up and went to walk. I remember wiping my head and feeling light-headed and dizzy. I remember going down to the floor.

"Next thing I remember is them talking to me, ask

ing me what was going on. I wanted to get up, but they wouldn't let me. After about 10 minutes, they wanted me to get up to get on the stretcher. I started feeling light-headed again, like I was going to faint, so they picked me up."

Norton said he was told his blood pressure was 166/122 when medical personnel reached him on the sideline. According to the American Heart Association website, the normal range is less than 120/less than 80.

Doctors ruled out a heart attack, and after a number of blood tests and a stress test, Norton was released on Thursday to return to Columbus.

On the advice of his family, his doctors and athletic director Todd Reeser, Norton did not travel with the team to Saturday's game at Augusta.

Norton, who came to the Lumpkin Center and spoke to the team on Friday, said that was difficult.

"I wanted to try and work it out," Norton said. " It was not fun watching that bus pull off."

Taking precautions

Norton returned to the Lumpkin Center about noon Monday and led his team through a mid-afternoon practice. He had his blood pressure checked twice.

He plans to coach the team tonight as it hosts Lander for a 5:30 tipoff.

"I feel pretty good," said Norton, who will have his blood pressure checked three times today. "Not too many side effects. I am a little sore where they stuck so many needles in me. But I feel rested. I have had three really good nights of sleep."

The Lady Cougars (12-3, 6-2) lost to North Georgia and Augusta for its first two-game losing streak in more than a year. But they return to the Lumpkin Center, where they have won 24 straight games, two shy of the program's record.

Lander is also 6-2 in the Peach Belt. The Bearcats are tied with Augusta for first place in the Eastern Division. CSU is two games back of Clayton State.

Kevin Price, 706-320-4493, Follow Kevin on Twitter @lesports