Gold Coast teenager wakes up from coma after cardiac arrest at football game


A teenage girl who suffered cardiac arrest during a football game opened her eyes in hospital, according to the manager of the football club.

14-year-old Ava Azzopardi collapsed moments after stepping onto the pitch in the Under-14 Division 1 grand final on Friday night.

Nine paramedics were called to the Runaway Bay grounds around 6:30 p.m. as parents in the crowd struggled to revive the teenager.

Runaway Bay Soccer Club Junior Girls manager Al Mucci said Ava was “not out of the woods yet” but there had been “positive signs”.

The healing process should be long

Ms Azzopardi was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital in critical condition, where she had been in a induced coma since Friday evening.

Mr Mucci said the Azzopardi family have finally been able to interact with their daughter.

“Ava has started to open her eyes, the doctors are starting to cut back on the drugs that keep her in this position while her body heals,” he said.

“She’s still not out of the woods, but all of her vital signs are pointing in the right direction.”

Mr Mucci said the healing process is expected to be long.

“It’s a pretty traumatic thing that happened to her and her heart,” he said.

The “sincere thanks” of the family

The Azzopardo family congratulated the parents who responded quickly to the game, who worked to save their daughter’s life.

“It was fortunate that we had parents doctors and nurses from both teams who acted quickly on the pitch,” said Mucci.

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Mr Mucci said advisers had been appointed to provide support to those who witnessed the incident.

“I feel for those girls who were playing there that day, my heart is with them,” he said.

“The football community really came together; Football Gold Coast and Football Queensland provided advisors.”

Mr Mucci said players, linemen and referees were among those receiving support.

A fundraiser was set up to help support the Azzopardi family, with $ 10,000 of a goal of $ 15,000 raised in less than 24 hours.