Australia’s Ava Costa is fighting to walk again. Here’s how you can help.

By Patricia Duffy | May 13, 2023

Until a month ago, 14-year-old Ava Costa was a standout Australian junior elite with Olympic dreams. Now, she’s fighting for the chance to walk again.

On April 7, Costa sustained a serious spinal injury during training that required emergency surgery. Up until this week, Costa had not regained movement below the level of injury but had a breakthrough, moving her arms on Friday.

“Ava has been a dedicated gymnast since the age of 5,” her family wrote. “She is one of Gymnastics Australia’s Junior International athletes, that was training for the 2024 Olympics. Her mental and physical strength has carved a path to beat the unbelievable odds it takes to reach this level in elite sports.

“It’s hard to express in words or photos the magnitude of how much Ava’s life completely changed overnight. We are told we have a very long road ahead. It has been an inconceivable process we are not asking any of you to imagine.

​“We are asking you to spread a positive message for hope, love and prayers.”

At this stage, it is unclear how much movement or feeling will regain below her level of injury. Life will look very different for Ava no matter what happens moving forward.

To support her, the gymternet has come together to show its support for Ava and the Costa family, with athletes and fans painting their toes pink – Ava’s favorite color – to signify they are “walking” this journey with her. Simone Biles and others have also shared messages of support for Ava.

If you want to take your support a step further, you can make a one-time or recurring donation at the Walking with Ava website.

You can also purchase a limited edition Sylvia P “Walking with Ava” leotard. Sylvia P will be donating the profits to the recently-established Walking With Ava Foundation to support Ava’s journey to recovery. The leotard is available to order through Sunday, May 14 at 11:59 PST.

Gymnastics Now has made a $100 donation to the Walking With Ava Foundation, and our team sends its love from across the world to the Costa family.

This story is free to readers in an effort to share Ava’s story with as many people as possible. Please consider sharing and follow @WalkingwithAva on Instagram.