One minute fit and healthy 21-year-old Jess Allen was out on the rugby pitch, helping out the Frenchville Pioneer’s men’s team. The next? She was unconscious on the sidelines after her heart stopped beating.
Now the Gladstone, QLD community is rallying behind the young mum as she lies in a coma in hospital while family friends care for Jess’ one-year-old daughter.
Fit and healthy mum collapses on footy field
Jess plays for the Frenchville Pioneers women’s team as well as Oz Tag and Touch Footy.
Frenchville Pioneers Rugby Club president Vickie Hirsimaki told ABC News,
To look at Jess was to see a real sportswoman – never out of breath, she just was fit and healthy. Jess brings sunshine into the room – a bit of a kidder and a character.”
Although Jess did have a pre-existing heart condition, it had never impacted her sport in the past.
Jess collapsed while running water to the men’s side. At first, the coach thought she was just mucking around and told her to get up as it was cold and she could get sick.
However, one of the committee members looked down and realised she wasn’t breathing.
The football community sprung into action, calling paramedics and performing CPR. There was a nurse in the crowd who rushed over to help while people from the clubs held up towels and sheets to give her privacy.
It was just such a horrific event, but if there’s anything great to say in it all, it’s how the rugby community came together.
Footy was forgotten about and the life of Jess just became paramount for everyone.”
Community rallies to support Jess and daughter
With Jess now in a coma in Brisbane’s Prince Charles Hospital, her one-year-old daughter is staying with family friends in Rockhampton.
According to ABC News, Jess opened her eyes on Tuesday and doctors and nurses are hopeful that the fighter will make a recovery.
Meanwhile, the Frenchville Pioneers head to the finals this weekend without Jess.
“As much as it’s tough to prepare for a grand final, to be without one of your integral players, they’re all saying that they’ll now be playing for Jess.”