BURBANK (CBSLA.com) — A teen has made a dramatic recovery after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a crash with a fire truck in Malibu.
Olivia Menke is currently working two jobs in order to pay for college, just 9 months after a crash that had left her in an induced coma at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
“I don’t remember about 30 minutes before the crash and I remember about two days after waking up from the coma,” she said.
After 12 days in a coma, when the varsity athlete and student body president woke up, she needed to relearn how to walk, talk, eat, and speak.
Menke was just three days from graduating as salutatorian from Providence High School in Burbank when she had her accident. She had a scholarship to an East Coast university.
“And it was a difficult time because cognitively we didn’t know how it was going to turn out for her,” said Erica Menke, her mother.
Thanks to the amazing care she received at UCLA, Menke has made a full recovery. Her doctors credit early intervention and the fact that Menke was a very active teenager.
“She was essentially a very healthy woman and she had all the material necessary for us to work with her and the third thing was time,” said Dr. Manuel Buitrago Blanco of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
On Wednesday, Menke’s mother made a presentation on her daughter’s recovery at the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center. Menke will start college in the fall. She took a year off for her recovery.
She says people don’t expect her to be doing so well.
“People ask me, ‘Are you OK?’ And I usually just say, ‘I’m just fine.’ People expect like a more hurtful, like ‘I’m hurt’ response,” she said.
“I’m fine,” two words her family didn’t think were ever possible back in that hospital bed.