SPOILER WARNING: Details on the Feb. 1 episode of “The Challenge: Ride or Dies” are below.
For a moment, Olivia Kaiser thought her life was over.
The reality star was one half of the only rookie pair to make it to the 100-hour finale of MTV’s “The Challenge: Ride or Dies”. While she didn’t end up making it to the finish line, a freak accident on the show may have changed her life forever.
During the bola-throwing competition the karabiner connecting the rope to the balls accidentally cut her finger open.
“My finger slid under the clip and as I threw it, it dug into my finger and ripped the top of my finger off. The nerve was coming out and hanging — a little, white nerve. I thought I broke it because it hit my bone,” she told Variety.
READ MORE: ‘The Challenge’ Stars Cory Wharton & Taylor Selfridge’s Baby Daughter Is Home And Recovering After Heart Surgery
Undeterred by the injury, Kaiser attempt to help her partner chug down “warm ranch with clam chowder and fish guts” that “smelled like rotten tuna or the bottom of a dumpster” in the next challenge as medics tended to her finger.
As the challenges continued, however, her finger injury was only getting worse. The continued medical setbacks led to them rushing through the challenges to make up time.
“So, [the medics] made me sit down again after the tires because it was dirty,” she said. “They knew it was going to be rough for me continuing, but they cleaned it out with this antiseptic, which honestly hurt so bad. I was screaming. I’ve never felt pain like that. It hurt worse than my face. So, we were rushing because of my sitting down and getting my finger cleaned.”
It all came crashing down, however, when she couldn’t pull a slingshot back far enough and the ball inside ricocheted and hit her in the face.
“I remember seeing it out of the corner of my eye, the slingshot was kind of twisted on one side, I think. I just went to pull a golf ball back and obviously, as you can see — they caught all that on freaking camera! — but it literally just came back, and it shook me to my core. I got whiplash, it was crazy,” she recalled. “I thought my teeth were knocked out because the impact was so hard. It felt like my nose was literally off my face, crooked. I remember popping my nose back a bit into place because it felt it off so I kind of crunched it back. I licked my teeth to make sure they were all there and had an instant migraine.”
The realization that she could’ve nearly lost an eye hit Kaiser, as well as the possibility she had lasting brain damage from the impact.
READ MORE: ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Invites Real Players To Compete For $4.56 Million
“I was like, if I’m actually getting brain swelling, I could die. This is not a joke. People die all the time from getting hit in the head from trauma. I really, in some crazy way, got lucky that it just hit me directly in between the eyes. Obviously, I still have good aim if I freaking got a bull’s eye,” she joked darkly. “If it had hit me in the eye, I would have either lost my eye or died, because the golf ball probably would have went right back behind my eyeball.”
After the head impact, her time at the show was cut short. The staff sent her to the hospital in an ambulance.
The “Love Island” alum spent a sobering two nights at the hospital as she contemplated the possibility of permanent damage.
“I was contemplating my entire life. I was like, ‘Did I just get permanently damaged for the rest of my life because of a TV show?’ I was so mortified. What are the chances that I got hurt twice with bad injuries,” she continued. “My finger doesn’t look that serious and it wasn’t talked about as much because of my face but it wasn’t just like a little cut. I mean, I’ve never seen my flesh pulled out. It was so disturbing.”
Due to the show’s rules of sticking with their “ride or die” partner, Horacio Gutiérrez Jr. was unable to continue the show.
READ MORE: Tony Hawk Reveals He Broke His Femur But Is ‘Up For The Challenge’ Of A Full Recovery
“I was traumatized. As much as I want to be a hard ass, it was pretty traumatizing, because we did work so hard. I just had this repeat of self-hate that I ruined everything. I felt really bad for a while and I wasn’t sure how my face was gonna heal, because the scar on my forehead was really bad. I thought I was never going to look the same again. I was battling with not being able to look like myself,” she revealed. “Every time I looked in the mirror, it was a memory of what happened to me. I’m not trying to be dramatic about it because it’s not that serious but in the same sense, it is because it’s not something anyone could be prepared for.”
Despite the unsettling experience, Kaiser said she was determined to return to the show to redeem herself.
“I am definitely scared because it shows that as much as they put into safety precautions, you never know. Freak accidents happen. But being scared has never held me back. If I do get the chance, I definitely will go back. I want to go back to redeem myself and everyone who has supported me,” she added.