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Elwood pitcher turns accident that crushed her hand into inspiration to win

Doctors told Olivia Shannon that she would never play softball again and would only have limited use of her right hand. She proved them all wrong.

ELWOOD, Ind. — Life can change in a moment's notice. Olivia Shannon, a star pitcher for the Elwood Panthers, knows that all too well. The right-hander can Bring the heat!

Last summer, she went on a trip to Colorado for travel softball.

The girls had a day off, so they decided to go ride ATVs in the mountains. That's when Olivia's life changed.

The ATV she was riding flipped over and her right hand was crushed. 

"It was bad. It was completely crushed. My finger was like a worm," she said.

After being rushed to an area hospital, Olivia started to think about her future without softball. She wanted to keep her college scholarship to St Mary's of the Woods in Terre Haute.

Doctors told Olivia Shannon that she would never play softball again and would only have limited use of her right hand. She proved them all wrong.

"I was upset. I cried a lot, but I wasn't going to let them stop me. I knew I could come back," Olivia said.

Credit: Provided by family

Her journey back was just beginning. She lost one of her fingers. It took five surgeries and 16 pins to basically rebuild her hand. So, with just four fingers and limited mobility, Olivia went to work.

"I've always been a determined person, so I always put in extra work. I loved softball. I wanted to go to college, so I didn't let them stop me," Olivia said.

Credit: WTHR

Her mom, Leslie, never doubted her little girl's drive.

"She is very strong-minded, and she just kept going," Leslie said.

Olivia's final surgery was just a few weeks before the start of the season this spring. Olivia made it back and started the first game.

Coach JR Reece was amazed at this remarkable comeback.

"She is better now than she was at the end of last year," he said. "After the accident...she is better!'

Credit: WTHR

At one of Olivia's games, the place was buzzing about their inspirational player. The town had rallied around her last summer to help pay some of the medical costs. She has given the town a great example about handling life's unexpected challenges.

"I guess I realize how much of an inspiration I am. I don't like a lot of attention on me all the time so I don't know," Olivia said.

Olivia Shannon is a great reminder to all of us — never give up on your dreams.

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