Junior gets by with just one arm

Junior Alex Otto plays guitar at the road house. Photo from Alex Otto.
Junior Alex Otto plays guitar at the road house. Photo from Alex Otto.

Kevin Killeen

She starts her day like any other high school student: making her bed, eating some cereal and tying her shoe laces; however, she only has one arm.

Junior Alex Otto’s arm was lost while she was in utero because her umbilical cord was wrapped around it too tight. She was adopted in her birth country, Russia, at 10 months old.

“My parents wanted another kid,” said Otto. “They were both doctors, and they were looking for kids with bone deficiency.”

Despite having one arm, Otto has competed in softball, basketball and recreational kick boxing. She said in kick boxing, her arm actually offers her an advantage sometimes, as it packs a more powerful punch because it is a shorter distance.

In softball, Otto played catcher.

“I would catch the ball with my left hand, slide my glove off and get the ball and throw it as fast as I could,” said Otto.

However, despite participating in so many sports, Otto said the most common question people ask her is how she plays video games.

“A lot of people wonder how I play video games because I’m actually really good at shooting games,” said Otto.

Otto said one of her biggest inspirations was Jim Abbott, a one handed pitcher who played for the Angels.

“I actually wrote a letter to him, and he responded,” said Otto. “To get a letter from someone you admire is really cool, especially when they have the same problem you have.”

Otto said her arm was more of a problem in middle school, when students would make fun of her.

“I got made fun of a lot, but once people got to know me it got better,” said Otto. “I still get stared at on a daily basis, but it doesn’t bother me any more. I just realized at one point that you can’t let people get to you like that.”

“She has a fantastic sense of humor and is really comfortable in her own skin,” said science teacher Chris Allen. “Most people in her situation would not have been able to handle something like that as well as she has,” said Allen. “She’s a stud.”

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