Indoor cricket great almost killed in ‘terrifying’ accident

Jay Otto in action during the 2017 World Cup in Dubai.
Jay Otto in action during the 2017 World Cup in Dubai.

 

International indoor cricket great Jay Otto has suffered an horrific accident while camping with his family on Christmas Day.

Otto, 39, who captained Australia to victory in the 2017 World Cup in Dubai and is regarded as "one of the greatest indoor cricketers of all time", suffered horrendous injuries in a motorbike accident on a friend's 32ha property in rural Mundoolun, Logan.

If not for his helmet, a quick-thinking neighbour and his sister-in-law who is a nurse, the father of four would have died, according to his devastated wife Amy Ward-Otto, 36.

"It was terrifying, and I feared he was going to bleed out," said Mrs Ward-Otto, of Regents Park.

Jay Otto recovers in hospital after breaking his back and puncturing a lung in a camping accident on Christmas Day.
Jay Otto recovers in hospital after breaking his back and puncturing a lung in a camping accident on Christmas Day.

Mr Otto, who represented Australia in indoor cricket from age 17, was riding his Suzuki RMZ450 shortly after 1pm when it fishtailed on wet grass, catapulting him into the air.

He landed face down, 15 metres away, and a neighbour who'd rushed to assist yelled out to his family who was on the other side of the property playing in the dam.

Mrs Ward-Otto and her sister, Rebecca Stanborough, a clinical nurse at Logan Hospital, raced to the scene, while a family member shielded their children from the awful sight.

"Jay wasn't moving, and there was blood all over his face and ears," she said.

"If it wasn't for his helmet, we'd be saying his eulogy."

Jay Otto at Gold Coast University Hospital.
Jay Otto at Gold Coast University Hospital.

Within 10 minutes, Mr Otto was attended by paramedics then flown by CareFlight to Gold Coast University Hospital where he spent two days in the ICU with a broken back, nine shattered ribs and a punctured lung. He also sustained severe internal bleeding, concussion and facial lacerations.

As Mrs Ward-Otto was following the chopper to the hospital in her car, she feared the worst.

"My mind was racing a million miles a second, I figured by the way the paramedics were speaking, he was going to bleed out, suffer cardiac arrest or have brain damage.

"We protected the kids from it, but afterwards they kept asking if Daddy was going to die," she said, crying.

"It was touch and go for a long time, and he's not out of the woods yet, but he is definitely our Christmas miracle."

Jay Otto with his children Xander, Montana, Lachlan and Sophia, and wife Amy Ward-Otto.
Jay Otto with his children Xander, Montana, Lachlan and Sophia, and wife Amy Ward-Otto.

Mr Otto is currently in the orthopaedic trauma ward, facing more surgery and six months of rehabilitation, amid fears for his ability to fight off infection due to his chest trauma.

Mrs Ward-Otto described her partner of 10 years and father to Montana, 13, Xander, 11, Sophia, 8, and Lachlan, 5, as "a bit of a big kid, with a great sense of humour".

"He is so genuine, loving, caring, really family orientated, and is sport mad."

She said SMG sporting goods, her husband's sponsor while he was playing professionally, described him as "one of the greatest indoor cricketers of all time".

In a December 2018 article, online magazine Sportskeeda said Mr Otto was "a legend of indoor cricket, not only in Australia but abroad, and roundly considered as one of the best wicketkeepers to have ever played the sport".

Jay Otto.
Jay Otto.

Mr Otto retired after the world cup in 2017 but mentors young indoor cricketers through the SMG Sports-Jay Otto Scholarship program.

In a further twist of bad luck, Mr Otto had resigned as assistant manager at Reece Plumbing Centre in Browns Plains and was due to start a new job on January 8 with Harvey's Towing Service in Yatala, where his wife also works.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to assist with his rehabilitation.

To make a donation, click here.

Originally published as Indoor cricket great almost killed in 'terrifying' camping accident


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