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11-year-old soccer player thought she was just tired. Turns out, she had two holes in her heart

Now her parents have a message for families
Justice and Monica Avila
Posted at 8:30 PM, Feb 09, 2022

THORNTON, Colo — Eleven-year-old Justice Avila has always loved playing soccer, but she could never figure out why it always gave her headaches and excessive exhaustion afterwards.

After a routine physical, it turned out Justice actually had two holes in her heart. As a part of Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week, Denver7 spoke with her family and doctor about her diagnosis and treatment.

At first, they thought it was something much more minor.

"They detected a murmur...and they said [there] was probably a chance it was just a normal murmur," said her mother, Monica. "Then they referred us over to a specialist, and I almost put that off for a month because...I had a murmur and it closed on its own."

Thankfully, a persistent doctor was adamant Justice get an ultrasound, and that's where they found the situation was much worse.

In December, Justice underwent open heart surgery at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, and is now fully recovered.

In the above video, you can hear about her and her family's journey through the diagnosis and treatment, and their advice for parents and children.