‘Positive signs’ as Gold Coast teen wakes from induced coma, but ‘not out of the woods yet’


A teenage girl who suffered a cardiac arrest during a soccer match has opened her eyes in hospital, according to the soccer club’s director. 

Ava Azzopardi, 14, collapsed just moments after taking to the field during the Division One under 14s grand final on Friday night.

Nine ambulance crew were called to the Runaway Bay ground around 6:30pm, while parents in the crowd worked to revive the teenager.

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

Healing process expected to be long

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

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

“Ava started opening her eyes, the doctors are starting to reduce the drugs that keep her in that position while her body’s healing,” he said.

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

Mr Mucci said the healing processes was expected to be long.

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

Family’s ‘heartfelt thanks’ 

The Azzopardo family have praised quick-responding parents at the game, who worked to save their daughter’s life.

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


Mr Mucci said counsellors have been appointed to provide support for 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 has really banded together; Football Gold Coast and Football Queensland have supplied counsellors.”

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

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


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