A young woman who graduated from San Ramon Valley High last spring died on Saturday, three weeks after a soccer ball struck her in the head during a college retreat and ultimately triggered a severe brain injury.
Allie Brodie, an 18-year-old Danville native, had just started her freshman year at the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) when she was hit by a soccer ball during a friendly game on the morning of Oct. 7, according to a GoFundMe account established to help pay for medical bills. After suffering progressively worsening symptoms, two surgeries and weeks in a coma, Brodie died on Saturday.
"Heaven has gained a beautiful guardian angel, and we continue to seek peace in God's plan for our sweet girl," her mother Cindy Brodie posted to the GoFundMe page. "We thank each and every one of you for all of the love, support, comfort, and prayers you have provided for us and Allie during this time. We are truly grateful and blessed to have met so many amazing people through this tragedy. God bless all of you."
On the weekend of Oct. 7, Brodie was on a student ministry weekend retreat, according to the Facebook page of her Christian sorority. After the soccer ball unexpectedly hit her head, she experienced symptoms that worsened over the next few days, leading to a diagnosis that brought her to the DCH hospital in Tuscaloosa for an emergency surgery for intracranial hemorrhage, according to the GoFundMe account.
This particular surgery required that Brodie be put into a medically induced coma, the GoFundMe page said, and also led to the diagnosis of a rare condition she had unknowingly had since birth: brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM), or a tangle of abnormal blood vessels in the brain that divert blood away from normal brain tissue, according to the American Stroke Association.
The combination of AVM and being hit by the soccer ball triggered internal bleeding in her brain system, according to the GoFundMe.
Brodie never came out of the coma and wasn't able to overcome complications that arose from pneumonia.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of our sister, Allie Brodie," her sorority chapter of Alpha Delta Chi Tau wrote on Facebook. "Though we only knew her a short time, Allie made a significant impact on our sisters. We will miss her tremendously."
Brodie's mother Cindy, father Bill, sister Caroline and puppy all live in Danville, and her twin sister Nicole attends Kings College in London.
The GoFundMe page has raised over $29,000 of its $50,000 goal as of Wednesday morning, and Brodie's sorority is holding a vigil for her in Tuscaloosa Wednesday night at 6 p.m.
The story, which was first reported by AL.com, has been picked up by several national outlets, including the New York Post, Fox News and BuzzFeed News.