But Alex Otte did survive. She was befriended by former UK basketball player Josh Harrellson and has told her remarkable story to church groups and even the Ohio UK¿Convention. Last week she shared her message with the Kentucky football team thanks to Oliver’s invitation.
“Alex spoke briefly to the football team on making the most of what you been given. She went on to say that feeling sorry for yourself does no one any good and we all have bad days. To remember that on days that we honestly don’t feel like getting out of the bed, to just remember things can always get worse. In a matter of seconds things can always get worse, changing your life forever,” Laura Otte said.
Coach Joker Phillips and Oliver invited Alex and her family back to hear the inspirational story of Harold Dennis, a former UK football player and survivor of a horrific 1988 Carrollton bus crash. Dennis talked about the emotional and physical challenges he had to overcome.
“Not only was his message emotional and uplifting, it was in many ways very healing for Alex’s mom,” Laura Otte said. “Not the intent of the coaching staff, but a unique gift to me just the same.”
However, Alex Otte had the same impact on the football team and her talk touched various players and made many wipe away tears. One who was particularly moved was sophomore receiver Brian Adams.
Adams missed his high school senior season with a separated shoulder but still signed with UK. After getting to campus in the summer, he noticed his right arm was swollen in early July. He had a clot in his biceps and was told by doctors at home that taking blood thinners just solve the problem. Kentucky football trainer Jim Madaleno thought it might be thoracic outlet syndrome and advised him to see a surgeon before coming back to Lexington.
Before Adams saw a specialist, his back became so painful he could barely walk. Finally a CAT scan showed he had clots in his lungs and his subclavian vein. He had to have his first rib removed to open the vein and stayed on blood thinners for six months. That forced him to miss his first football season, but did save his life.
Yet Otte’s talk hit home with Adams for an even different reason.
“It struck me really hard because I live on a lake down in Georgia. It just kind of brought a mental image of myself. I sit on a jet ski, my sister sits on a jet ski, me and my dad put the boat in (the water),” Adams said. “It is the same exact situation as with Alex. I can picture what happened in my head and it is terrible to see that.
“It is really a blessing she is alive. I don’t know how she even survived that. The boat prop going over her ... we have hit a 2x4 (board) before and it shattered into a 1,000 pieces. It’s really inspiring to see how far she has come. She’s a great girl and seems like she is very strong in her faith. That’s awesome. She’s so positive, but it just goes to show that life can change any minute and you should enjoy every second of it.”
Laura Otte says several players stopped her daughter and herself to tell how they were touched by the story.
“It is real. It is one of those things that you do not hear every day and it is one of those things where she is a 14-year-old girl that got run over by a boat on her jet ski,” Adams said. “It’s not one of those things you hear about. You hate to see it happen to someone so young, not that you want it to happen to anybody. To see her turn around and come back from all that so strong and how she talked in front of all of us. She talked better in front of the group than I¿can talk in front of the group, so it was real inspiring and we enjoyed having her come out.”