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Local university soccer player paralyzed after accident in Costa Rica

EDMONTON — Edmonton’s soccer community is coming together to support a local university player after she suffered a devastating injury in Costa Rica.

Nicole Palladino travelled to the Central American country with her boyfriend to celebrate graduating from the University of Alberta’s civil engineering program.

On Jan. 14, she lost control of her pedal bike and fell off a cliff. The 24-year-old damaged her lungs and broke her back, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.

“My initial reaction was just shock,” said Rebecca Reif, who played for the MacEwan Griffins and U of A Pandas with Palladino. “They were doing tests for several hours, and I think within the first 12 hours of the accident she knew.”

In a GoFundMe that has raised more than $80,000 since Wednesday, Palladino is described as a “strong, positive, and kind force that inspires everyone around her with her optimistic outlook on life.”

Palladino showed that optimism to Reif in a text message from her hospital bed. “My back is broken. I’m probably paralyzed, but it’s going to be OK.”

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