Olivia Carmichael has had a challenging start to life.
With over ten operations before reaching nine months of age, three open heart surgeries and a BP shunt, it would be easy to sit on the couch and take life easy.
But nothing has stopped Olivia from completing her third year of Auskick at the Kawungan centre (in Hervey Bay, Queensland) with a couple of Girls-only centres thrown in for good measure.
The idea of playing a ball sport after all those operations was a concern for parents' Lee and Peter, but after receiving the all clear from the doctor and seeing Olivia’s infectious smile and enthusiasm, they soon filled out the registration form.
Ask Olivia what she enjoys and the answer is simple.
"I love playing the games and being involved in the team but my favourite part is the kicking!" Olivia said.
Turning eight years of age and only barely passing the metre high mark doesn’t stop Olivia from getting in and dirty with the bigger opponents. This hasn’t gone unnoticed from all involved.
Olivia’s attitude has seen her selected twice to go to the Gabba and play in the centre games.
"It’s amazing to play on the big oval in front of so many people and hear all the cheers,” she said.
Olivia’s mum believes that it is the sense of achievement Olivia gains from being involved that keeps her coming back.
"She can play and be on a level footing with all her peers and she can see the improvement,” Lee said.
NAB AFL Auskick is the only sport that Olivia plays and by the looks of it, she will be enjoying it for a few more years to come.