Published: May. 1, 2023 at 2:43 AM CDT

PHOENIX (KPHO/Gray News) – A 12-year-old girl from Phoenix is facing a long road to recovery after she had a sudden cardiac arrest on the soccer field just minutes into her practice.

Pyper Midkiff, 12, and her twin sister, Emori, are star athletes on their youth soccer team, their dad, Matt Midkiff says. Pyper has played for six years and has never had any health issues – until Thursday night when she suffered cardiac arrest on the field during practice.

Matt Midkiff was coaching soccer for a different team nearby when Pyper collapsed. He sprinted over as soon as he got the call, wondering how this could have happened.

Pyper Midkiff, 12, is a star athlete on her youth soccer team, her father said. She is...
Pyper Midkiff, 12, is a star athlete on her youth soccer team, her father said. She is recovering after she suffered cardiac arrest on the field minutes into her practice.(Source: Matt Midkiff, KPHO via CNN)

A mother of a player on the team performed lifesaving CPR on Pyper until the ambulance got there, but in the ambulance, she lost her pulse again. She was flown to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where she is in stable condition and seems to be improving.

Just before Arizona’s Family spoke with her dad, Pyper opened her eyes for the first time since her heart attack.

“Everyone thinks their kid is special,” Matt Midkiff said. “Pyper has something special in her, and the world needs more people like her. The world needs more Pypers, and seeing what I just saw gives me more hope [and] faith.”

He says soccer coaches and teams from all over the country have shown their support while the 12-year-old recovers at the hospital. Multiple youth soccer club teams in Arizona, Utah and California showed their support for Pyper over the weekend. The family has also heard wishes of support from the Phoenix Rising Pro team, who took to their Instagram to show a jersey in Pyper’s honor.

“Sports and soccer is more than competition. The support over the past few days shows that everybody gets it at the end of the day of what’s really important. Family is important and the kids and the players,” Matt Midkiff said.

Pyper’s road to recovery will likely be long, as it is still unclear how long she was without a pulse. In the coming days, doctors will learn more about her brain activity and work to create a diagnosis.

In the meantime, however, Pyper’s dad told Arizona’s Family that they learned through testing that she has a genetic condition that went undiagnosed.

A GoFundMe created to help Pyper’s family with medical costs has raised more than $40,000.