NORMAN — Today, the Norman North quarterback is the picture of the All-American ideal. He’s entering his senior year as a leader on a football team that made a run to the state championship game just a few months ago. He’s well-liked by his teammates and coaches. He’s got both the tangible and intangible skills to succeed not just at North but at the next level, and he’ll receive that opportunity next year at defending BCS champion Alabama.
But things haven’t always looked so rosy for David Cornwell, who will lead the Timberwolves onto the field when they kick off their season on Sept. 4 against crosstown rivals Norman High.
Just a few weeks ago, Cornwell didn’t know if he would even play this season. A few months ago he didn’t know where he would finish his high school education.
And a few years ago, he didn’t know if his family would even be around to watch him.
Cornwell’s mother Debbie first became sick two years ago this month. A sudden and severe illness, she lost more than 20 pounds in a month while doctors scrambled to diagnose her condition.
For David, the illness took its toll. Already dealing with a family move from Nebraska to Florida, the burgeoning football star was put into a situation far more serious than any he had ever faced on the field.
“Everything flipped,” he said. “You’re just thinking about your family and trying to do anything you can to help her out.”
David made clear a few weeks later exactly how serious he was about doing “anything.” He put his promising gridiron dreams on hold to stay at home and take care of his mom, a decision he made without a second thought.
“Family comes first,” he said. “It was tough on me and my dad. How can I think about playing football when my mom is in trouble, when the woman who has taken care of me all my life is sick?”