tampabay.com

Injured student getting better

A helmet saved the scooter rider's life in a crash with a car.

By KEVIN GRAHAM
Published November 29, 2006


TAMPA - When Natasha Sackett got a motorized scooter at the start of college this fall, she promised her mother she'd wear her helmet no matter what.

"I don't want to be an organ donor," she said.

Sackett kept her word.

A doctor at Tampa General Hospital said Tuesday it saved her life.

The hospital and Sackett's mother held a news conference Tuesday to discuss the University of Tampa student's condition and prospects after suffering devastating injuries in a wreck.

For the past month, the 18-year-old freshman has been quietly recovering from head injuries, facial and leg fractures and a bleeding liver after a collision with a car Oct. 29 on Kennedy Boulevard.

Police said Sackett was near campus when her Piaggio Fly 150 scooter collided with a car driven by 72-year-old Barbara Greene of Tampa. Police spokesman Larry McKinnon said the case was still open, but detectives didn't anticipate filing any charges.

Sackett remained in intensive care and on a ventilator at TGH until a week ago. Dr. Rodney Durham, her attending physician, said Sackett will likely begin rehabilitation therapy next week.

Veronica Opladen, Sackett's mother, said she expected nothing less from Natasha.

"She has one of the strongest characters that I know," Opladen said Tuesday, fighting back tears as she spoke about her daughter. "I know she has a great love for life, and I'm absolutely positive that it's her will and want for life that has gotten her through this."