‘I thought she was the footy’: Dramatic moment toddler runs on to a football field and comes metres from being trampled before a quick-thinking player scoops her up – as her dad reveals how she got away
- Pippa Briggs ran on to the pitch during an AFL association match on Saturday
- The two-year-old was saved by Alex McLeod, from St Bernard’s Football Club
- Mr McLeod was filmed picking up Pippa and taking her to officials on the sideline
A local footy player has been commended for quick-thinking after saving a toddler who ran on to the field during a match.
Alex McLeod, from St Bernard’s Football Club in Melbourne’s north-western suburbs, sprung into action when toddler Pippa Biggs found herself in the middle of the pitch during a Victorian Amateur Football Association match on Saturday.
In dramatic footage shared online, the two-year-old girl is seen wandering through the pitch as the contested ball flies into the air a few metres away.
Pippa Briggs, two, ran on to the pitch during a Victorian Amateur Football Association match on Saturday
Mr McLeod notices out-of-place Pippa and scoops her into his arms, seconds before she could have been trampled by other players fighting for the ball.
A smiling Mr McLeod then walks to the boundary and passes Pippa to an official.
He has since been praised for choosing to save the toddler, instead of contesting a nearby tackle.
The association shared the video on Facebook on Sunday, writing: ‘A scary moment at the Snake Pit yesterday when a toddler ran onto the ground before fast-thinking St Bernard’s star Alex McLeod came to the rescue.’
‘We can report the little girl left the game safe and sound as she looks forward to donning the Snow Dogs women’s jumper in about 15 years.’
Dad David Biggs told the Herald Sun he had been standing next to his daughter before she sneakily disappeared.
Alex McLeod, from St Bernard’s Football Club, sprung into action and carried her from the pitch
‘She is very active, she’s a bit of a cheeky one,’ he said.
‘Before I knew it there was a little girl in a red jacket running around and I thought it was the footy.’
Mr Biggs said he had been keeping an eye on Pippa, who had been playing with other children nearby, before she bolted on to the field.
He praised Mr McLeod for saving Pippa and returning her to the sideline.
Mr McLeod has been praised for choosing to save the toddler, instead of contesting a nearby tackle
‘He had the opportunity to go for the ball but he went for the girl in the red jacket,’ Mr Biggs said.
Mr McLeod told foxfooty.com.au he initially thought someone on the boundary would pick up Pippa but she quickly ended up on the half forward flank.
‘Being the closest on the field I thought it was best to pick her up and get her out of harm’s way, the ball actually bounced towards her so there were a fair few players in the area,’ he said.
‘[I] was relieved that I didn’t drop her as I’d been fumbling the football all game!’