Hundreds of mourners gather to say goodbye to Birdwood Football Club player Antonio Loiacono

Hundreds of mourners gathered at two locations to say goodbye Birdwood Football Club Antonio Loiacono player.

Loiacono, 20, died of head injuries last month following a collision on the pitch during a Class A game of the Hills Football League in South Australia.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Young footballer Antonio Loiacono bids farewell at funeral service.

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In impressive scenes, Loiacono’s father and his motorcycle club made a lap of honor around the grounds of the Hope Valley Sporting Club, where mourners had gathered.

Friends and family also gathered at Harrison Rivergum Chapel to pay their respects.

Hundreds of mourners gathered at two locations to say goodbye to Birdwood Football Club player Antonio Loiacono. Credit: Twitter
Loiacono’s father led a motorcycle procession around the grounds of the Hope Valley Sporting Club. Credit: Twitter

Loiacono’s mom, Wendy, spoke emotionally about her son, saying he’s “the gift that keeps giving.”

“Not only did he donate his organs for a transplant, he also donated his brain to the Australian Sports Brain Bank for research,” she revealed at the funeral service.

“Antonio will become the youngest Australian amateur rules player to donate his brain to help further research.”

She said her son “lived a stuffed life.”

“He didn’t care and that’s what I loved about him so much… He always inspired me to be bold and courageous and to get out of my comfort zone.

“Antonio was a master at connecting with people of all ages and walks of life.

“He had a unique ability to bring everyone together and create a bubble of belonging and closeness.

“On the morning of Anzac Day, I walked the hospital corridors with his hand for the last time, was his protector and honored to be his mother. … I cannot explain the gratitude that filled my own cup.”

Sal Loiacono described his son as “one of the best guys in life”.

“He saved a lot of lives that day… He who has his heart is a lucky person,” Sal said.

“Even in this tragedy, Antonio brings family and friends closer… We’ve never been this close.”

There was also an emotional moment at the Birdwood Oval last Saturday when players from both sides lined up for a minute’s silence before the game – the first since Loiacono’s death.

Players from both sides observe a minute’s silence before last Saturday’s game at the Birdwood Oval. Credit: Twitter

The tragic incident happened in the last quarter of the first game of the season at the Gumeracha Oval in the Adelaide Hills.

Loiacono was flown to the Royal Adelaide Hospital and put on life support after suffering cardiac arrest on the ground.

His younger brother, Jack Loiacono, told at the time how they thought Antonio would survive.

“We were told things were getting better, just a slight cerebral hemorrhage,” Jack said of the night before Antonio’s death.

“We went to sleep for a few hours and the doctor said (in the morning) that his intracranial pressure and bleeding would increase and he would be brain dead in less than 24 hours.”

Antonio Loiacono (left) was described as a beautiful and caring person by his brother Jack (right). Credit: delivered

Jack was only a year younger than Antonio and the couple were very close.

He described Antonio as his best friend and “a beautiful, caring and loving human being”.

“He was my rock, he was my other half, he meant the world to me, I don’t know what to do without him,” he told 7NEWS.

Sydney-born Loiacono had suffered multiple headbutts while playing soccer before his fatal injury.

Honors included the Sydney Swans AFL team sending the family a Guernsey card signed by all the players.

– With Sowaibah Hanifie

Pat Cummins opens up about grieving after the death of her mother.

Pat Cummins opens up about grieving after the death of her mother.

James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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