Ava Gray is a 16 year-old honor roll student athlete at Sir Winston Churchill secondary school currently playing on Niagara Regional soccer team as well as having played on her high school soccer team. Ava has had an immense passion for sport from a very young age. Ava was born at McMaster Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario and lives in St. Catharines, Ontario. She is honored and thankful to have been nominated by the Niagara Opthopedic Institute as a featured athlete.
These past two winters Ava was involved in the community by supporting and scorekeeping for highs chool basketball games such as Girls Basketball OFSAA held at Sir Winston as well as the Welland Tribune Boys Basketball Tournament.
Ava has attended sports such as travel basketball, competitive gymnastics and regional soccer. Ultimately, soccer was the sport she fell most in love with at the age of three. Ava played house league soccer from the age of three and played on St. Catharines Jets Travel soccer team from ages eight to fourteen. She joined the Pelham Niagara Regional soccer team at age fourteen and is still currently on the team. Ava has faced recurring injuries on her right ankle due to sports throughout her whole life. As a high level athlete she has a big competitive streak and felt this injury interfered with her ability to perform. This repetitive injury became extremely frustrating for Ava however no matter how much or how often soccer hurt her, she believed playing soccer was never a waste and continued to obtain a resilient mindset.
When Ava came to Niagara Orthopedic Institute it was highly recommended that she pushed for medical imaging to determine why the same injury kept happening. Thanks to this wise recommendation it was discovered that in her right ankle one ligament was detached and another one torn, explaining the ongoing injury. In August 2022, Ava received ankle surgery at McMaster Hospital to repair the torn ligament. Ava is so devoted to soccer and was always optimistic throughout recovery. After hard recovery work in February 2023, Ava was able to return to soccer once again on the Niagara Regional team. When her surgeon was assessing her to determine if she could go back to soccer he made her walk on her tippy toes. The surgeon was astonished as he said, “Wow you must have an extremely good physiotherapist because you are showing good ankle strength and your calf muscles look even.” Ava smiled and replied, “Yes I do have a very good physiotherapist.”
Unfortunately, a couple months back to soccer, Ava re-injured the same ankle in a high school soccer game, preventing her from being able to play the 2023 season and the game she loves most. For Ava soccer was a way to relieve any stress or worries and truly just live in the moment of the game. She has been working hard to recover through physio exercises and therapy. Ava perseveres through each injury and she knows with hard work as well as dedication she will be able to get back to soccer soon. She continues to be optimistic about her future in soccer! Ava is beyond grateful for the immense help talented physiotherapists are able to provide her at Niagara Orthopedic Institute in order to strengthen her ankle.