• Survivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor Olivia Mitrovich

Hello, my name is Olivia.

On Jun 5th, 2020, I fell from a golf cart that was going about 40 miles an hour. I landed directly on my head and my neck took the brunt of the impact.

I was unconscious from the impact and had to be life-flighted from Daufuskie Island to the ICU at Savannah Memorial Hospital. I was transferred to Emory Johns Creek and spent an additional week in the ICU there.

I fractured my skull, tore most of the ligaments in my neck, and lost 25 pounds from not being able to digest food and only being able to eat from a feeding tube. After 2 weeks of hospitalization, I was placed in the Shepherd Center Outpatient center to regain my physical and cognitive strength. For the past month and a half, I have spent every weekday there. I was released from the program in record time and am nearly fully healthy. I have no permanent damage and I cannot thank God enough. An injury of this severity usually does not end with the patient returning to normal life.

The healthcare team behind me has done an amazing job preparing me for some of the hardest steps in my life. Unfortunately, this journey has included some steps that no one can prepare you for. Laying in an ICU unit going over the American's Disability Act with a doctor because you were predicated to be walking away with permanent damage is hard when you don’t even have the strength to sit up on your own. Walking into the Shepherd Center and seeing wounded soldiers who were willingly laying their lives down for this nation who are now coping with handicaps kneel together to pray had me in tears for 2 days straight.

Sitting between my parents while my neurosurgeon told me that I should not have survived that accident and God has a purpose for me was the hardest thing I have ever had to hear and cope with. Seeing all my loved ones hurting and crying by my side while I was recovering as well really showed me what a huge circle of support I have in my life. I had a miraculous recovery and recovered more in one month than most patients with this injury ever do. My body rebounded incredibly well, and I was back to normal cognition and physical activity in about a month after the accident. I was told this miraculous recovery was simply because my body is young, athletic, and healthy and was able to readily fix itself. I give all credit to my amazing support group and everyone who has been continuously praying for me.

This recovery would not have been possible without them. I want to reach out to everyone who has surrounded my family and I through this tough time in our lives and just say thank you. My family has not had to prepare a single meal since the accident occurred, because our entire John's Creek community has rallied behind us, and I am so incredibly thankful to have been raised in such a great community. I had been accepted to begin law school this fall but because of my injury, I took a gap year. I could have folded and reacted by losing hope, but with the love and support around me, I knew I could push through this injury. It has been three and a half months since the accident and I have turned to hope, determination, and God to get back up on my feet and continuing chugging forward.

I am back to work full time at a local law firm, I am pursing my graduate degree from Georgetown during my gap year before I begin law school next year, and I recently started a running challenge to collectively run 200 miles before the end of 2020. My recovery has been hard, and it isn’t over yet, but I have been so blessed during this recovery.

I am using my story to help others, I will be providing support and counseling for patients at the Shepherd center who are experiencing similar brain injuries beginning in 2021. This experience will never be a positive in my life, but it has made me appreciate and love my life so much more!

Thank you TBI One Love for the impact you do, and helping us Survivors know we are not alone!

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