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. 

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. 

About the Authors:

Florida-born multi-media journalist pays special attention to issues in St. Johns County.

Jacksonville native and proud University of Florida graduate who joined News4Jax in March 2016.