BELLEAIR, Fla. – Early on in the COVID-19 lockdown, Jaye Marie Green and her boyfriend bought a couple of electric bikes. Like a regular bike, Green says, but with a little throttle (up to 30 mph). The couple were on their way to dinner on May 28 in Jupiter, Florida, when Green hit a curb and flew off the bike, narrowly missing a car.
Green slammed her shoulder, face and knees on the right side, suffering a concussion and fracturing her elbow. It was a 10-week recovery filled with worry because she couldn’t straighten her right elbow past a 90-degree angle.
Green said she still suffers from memory loss, which she believes is post-concussion syndrome. (courtesy Jaye Marie Green)
To say that Green is full of joy these days to be back at her job is an understatement. She’s positively glowing. Her dad calls her a walking miracle.
“I’m just happy to be alive and I feel really blessed,” she said. “There were definitely angels around me 100 percent.”
Green, 26, missed the first four events back after the LPGA’s summer restart, including the AIG Women’s British Open. Her 2-under 68 at the Pelican Women’s Championship marks her best opening round in more than a year.
There are times, Green said, when her brain hurts and she can’t remember things. Panic usually sets in.
“Sometimes I’m just standing there and I’m like, ‘I don’t even know what’s going on,” said Green. “I’ve always felt that way before, kind of, but now I’m like, ‘Man, I can’t be losing all these brain cells all the time.’ ”
Green said the “road rash” was extremely painful.
During the long forced break, when everything she’d known could suddenly disappear, Green was forced to grapple with a tough question: Who was she without golf?
The immediate answer was perhaps more concerning than anything that ailed her body.
“I was like, I’m no one now,” she said.
Depression began to set in. When she was able to start practicing again, Green came back hitting the ball better than ever, absolutely convinced that she was going to record her first LPGA victory.
“All I had on my brain was win, win, win,” said Green, “and I couldn’t even function, because … I’m not anywhere near the lead. This is terrible. What am I even doing?”
A few months ago, Green’s life took another major shift when she got plugged into her local church, Christ Fellowship in Palm Beach Gardens. All of a sudden, her identity changed. Her outlook on where the game ranks in her life changed, too. It’s no longer No. 1. Not even second.
“Now I’m just looking at it like, of course you care, and if you don’t play well it’s going to hurt,” said Green, “but it shouldn’t devastate and you make you feel like a terrible person, and that’s what golf was doing to me.
“I’m like, I can’t live this way. Either you quit golf, or you quit this mental thing with making golf number one in your life.”
Golf has moved down to its rightful place and the bike, well, it’s out of commission.
But her heart has never felt stronger.
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