Mattea makes strides in her recovery


Mattea makes strides in her recovery

EIGHT year old Mattea Riccardi of Leongatha played basketball recently. For most primary school children, this would be a normal achievement.
For Mattea though, it served as a special moment that marked her return to health following a car crash that nearly took her life in February this year.
Smiling uncontrollably as she took to the court, Mattea played the game that she loved with her trademark determination and grit, the same qualities that have helped her overcome a broken hip, a dislocated bone in her neck, a punctured lung, internal injuries, swelling on the brain and a slew of other injuries.
Her mum, Anna, who was driving the car as it was struck in the side by another vehicle, watched her daughter play in amazement.
“When I saw her play basketball for the first time since the accident, I finally realised everything is going to be good,” Ms Riccardi said.
“It was a really special moment. Just seeing her play, the smile on her face, it was all just so amazing.”
Anna was driving Mattea, her younger son Julian, 4, and her mother Nancy home from a basketball tournament in Warragul when the accident occurred.
Mattea and Julian were airlifted to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, with Julian having also suffered a broken eye socket, which has since healed well.
Mattea was placed in an induced coma as doctors at the hospital worked to save her life.
Now, just six months later, Mattea is working on recapturing her life that they saved.
“She’s doing incredible,” Ms Riccardi said.
“The bones in her neck have largely healed and her organs are functioning well. With her head, we just need to make sure she doesn’t get hit and the screw in her hip still needs to be taken out, but a apart from that it’s like she is back to normal.”
Normal for Mattea included returning to St Laurence’s Primary School in Leongatha, which she pleaded to go back to earlier than expected.
“She only missed about a term and a half,” Ms Riccardi said.
“Initially the doctors wanted her to only go for an hour each day because of her head injuries, but I’d bring her home and she would desperately want to go back. She was determined. When she did go back, she coped really well with it.”
Ms Riccardi said the community support she and her family had received during their tumultuous ordeal was overwhelming.
“To me, the community genuinely helped us heal,” Ms Riccardi said.
“We could feel the prayers and the positive energy. People were stopping me and asking me how we were doing and it meant a lot. The Leongatha Basketball Association was so helpful. It organised all kinds of fundraisers and set up donation stuff. We had thousands of kids from Maffra to Cranbourne in the basketball community who bought temporary tattoos of Mattea’s name.”
Ms Riccardi said while it’s impossible to put into words how much the community outpouring has meant, she hopes they understand every donation was hugely helpful to her and her husband Daniel and their family.
“I could never repay everyone for what they have done for us,” Ms Riccardi said.
“I just hope as people see Mattea grow and have a future they can feel a sense of satisfaction that they helped with that.”

Incredible recovery: Mattea Riccardi, eight, and her younger brother Julian, four, are happy and smiling again as they continue to recover from a horrific car accident in February this year.

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Posted by on Sep 18 2018. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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