MIAMI (WSVN) – A high school volleyball star who survived a partial condominium collapse in Surfside has returned to the field for the first time since the tragedy after months of recovery.
7News cameras captured Deven Gonzalez as she launched the first ceremonial service to cheers from Miami high school spectators on Saturday night.
It was the teenager’s first game since the June 24 meltdown crushed her leg and claimed the life of her biggest supporter: her father, Edgar Gonzalez.
“He played a huge role in my life. I went to every game, I drove, ”she said.
Gonzalez spent weeks in the hospital with a metal brace in her leg, unsure if she would walk again.
Angelina Campen was one of her friends at Saturday’s game.
“She’s so strong. She’s literally walking, and she’s in court. She loves volleyball so much, ”Campen said.
With booths full of people supporting her, including her family and friends, Gonzalez is gearing up for a full comeback.
“Physiotherapy is excruciating, but the idea of coming back to the field, especially for my father, is what keeps me going,” she said.
Deven’s coach Nicholas Baumgarten said his father was there in the spirit of rooting him.
“He’s looking down and he’s happy for his daughter,” he said.
From the courageous rescue team who fought to save her to grandparents mourning the loss of a son, the Miami High community has rallied around Gonzalez’s recovery.
“She knows we’ll always be there for her,” Campen said.
“It doesn’t matter what,” said another friend.
Gonzalez said she will continue to play, not just for herself but for her dad and the entire Surfside community.
“It’s like a new feeling now, to carry on,” she said.
Gonzalez has said she plans to continue her physical therapy and eventually hopes to play a full game on the pitch.
The Miami High volleyball team won Saturday’s game 3-0.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.