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Teen Rescued From Rubble Sorry for Missing Practice

After miraculous recovery, her first thought was of volleyball
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 5, 2021 1:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – When 16-year-old rising volleyball star Deven Gonzalez was pulled from the rubble of her Miami condo building, her initial reaction amid the shock was to tell firefighters that she had to compete in a major tournament in a few days. The teen's world revolved around volleyball. She played beach volleyball, on her high school team and with a competitive travel club team. From her hospital bed where she's undergone multiple surgeries for a broken femur, she apologized profusely to her coach for missing the final practice, per the AP. "I said, 'Let's focus on you right now and not volleyball,'" said club coach Amy Morgan, who described Gonzalez as extremely determined, passionate, and unrelenting in pursuing her goals.

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Gonzalez lived with her parents on the ninth floor of Champlain Towers South. She and her mother, Angela Gonzalez, fell several stories before being rescued on the fifth floor, she told her coach. Her mother was among the survivors pulled from the rubble and is still hospitalized with serious injuries, Morgan told the AP. At least two dozen were killed in the building's partial collapse June 24. Deven Gonzalez's father, attorney Edgar Gonzalez, is among the more than 120 still missing. Her eldest sister, Taylor, who was not in the building at the time of the collapse, has been a source of strength for her mom and sister, according to Morgan and Joslyn Varona, a family friend who has posted frequent updates on Facebook.

(Read more Surfside stories.)

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