Teen on the mend after golf cart accident, family says
Olivia Love, 17, recovering after undergoing brain surgery
ORANGE PARK, Fla. – A teenage girl who was seriously injured when she fell from the rear of a golf cart and struck her head on the driveway of a St. Johns County home will soon head to a pre-eminent rehabilitation facility in Georgia, her family said.
After the fall, Olivia Love, 17, was flown to Orange Park Medical Center, where she has continued to recover.
Love, a junior at Nease High School, will be moved to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta next week, her sister told News4Jax.
The rehabilitation facility specializes in spinal cord and brain injury rehab and is a top 10 rehab hospital in the nation.
Love had brain surgery and other procedures at OPMC and her loved ones have been by her side ever since the night of the Jan. 2 accident off State Road 16.
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles traffic crash report, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said the driver of the golf cart, a 17-year-old boy, was driving carelessly -- swerving left to right -- when Olivia fell off and struck her head on the asphalt driveway.
No citation has been issued. Deputies noted that the golf cart was a two-seater, but there were four occupants.
The family said Olivia (pictured left) suffered a skull fracture and a brain bleed.
"She has been improving slowly, very slowly," her sister, Danielle, said. "She has gone from being completely on a ventilator to getting off that, so that's a good sign. She's moving her arm -- her left arm -- a lot. We are still working on the right arm."
Olivia's family owns a bagel shop in St. Johns County, where she worked on the weekends. The family created an Instagram page named "Prayers for Olivia Love," where they post daily updates on how she is doing. The account had more than 1,600 followers, at last check.
The latest Instagram post, which was made Thursday night, said Olivia had an MRI that showed her brain stem was not damaged and the speech area of her brain was not as badly damaged as originally feared.
According to the post, doctors said Olivia will have weakness in her right side because she had a stroke.
"We are hoping with a lot of rehab, she will still live a good life," the post reads, in part.
View this post on Instagram
A bunch of good news tonight!! Olivia just had an MRI and here are the results: Olivia's brain stem (what we were nervous about) appears to be unharmed! She did move during that part but the neurologist still didn't see anything. Her speech area in her brain is not as bad as expected. Her DAI (diffuse axonal injury aka white lesions in the brain) is not as severe as originally thought. There is damage, but not as bad as the CT showed the other day. She will have weakness in her right side since there is obvious stroke damage in the left hemisphere. This is probably the best news we have gotten so far and we are hoping that with a lot of rehab, she will still live a good life. She still isn’t following commands but she appeared to be much more focused today. With the help of Nease’s very own Mrs.G, Olivia even counted with her fingers today! She still has an extremely long way to go so please please please keep the prayers coming! ❤️
As Olivia makes small victories day to day, the community has rallied around her by sending encouragement through cards and prayers.
The family said Olivia is strong and there's no doubt she's going to pull through, but asks for the community's continued prayers through her long recovery process.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with Olivia's medical expenses.
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