MIAMI (WSVN) - A high school volleyball star who survived the partial condominium collapse in Surfside made her court comeback for the first time since the tragedy following months of recovery.
7News cameras captured Deven Gonzalez as she threw out the ceremonial first serve to cheers from spectators at Miami High School, Saturday night.
It was the teen’s first match since the June 24 collapse crushed her leg and took the life of her biggest supporter: her father, Edgar Gonzalez.
“He was a very big role in my life. Went to every game, drove,” she said.
Gonzalez spent weeks in the hospital with a metal brace in her leg, unsure as to whether she’d even walk again.
Angelina Campen was one of her friends on hand at Saturday’s game.
“She’s just so strong. She’s, like, literally walking, and she’s at the court. She just loves volleyball so much,” said Campen.
With stands full of people supporting her, including family and friends, Gonzalez is preparing for a full comeback.
“Physical therapy is excruciating, but the thought of getting back on the court, especially for my father, that’s what’s keeping me going,” she said.
Deven’s coach, Nicholas Baumgarten, said her father was there in spirit rooting her on.
“He’s looking down, and he’s happy for his daughter,” he said.
From the brave rescue team that fought to save her, to the grandparents mourning the loss of a son, the Miami High community has rallied behind Gonzalez’s recovery.
“She knows that we’re always going to be there for her,” said Campen.
“No matter what,” said another friend.
Gonzalez said says she’s going to keep playing, not just for herself but her father and the entire Surfside community.
“It’s like a new feel now, to keep going,” she said.
Gonzalez said she plans to continue with her physical therapy and hopes to eventually play a full game on the court.
Miami High’s volleyball team won Saturday’s game 3-0.
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