A Grizzly Tale

Johan Otter

A Flash of Fur, Two Jumps and 400 Pounds of Lightning


Johan Otter’s life changed in a fraction of a second the day he and his daughter Jenna were attacked by a grizzly bear while hiking in Glacier National Park. This is his tale of survival, family, and triumph in the face of trauma.

Warning: Contains graphic images of bear attack victims.


Johan Otter

Johan Otter grew up in the Netherlands and came to the United States in 1984 to work as a physical therapist. Today, he holds a clinical doctorate in physical therapy and fellowships with the Advisory Board and the American College of Healthcare Executives. Johan has spoken to organizations large and small about the importance of staying positive after trauma, the realities of experience as a patient, and the circumstances that drive a parent to offer his own life to protect a child without a second thought. He currently resides in San Diego county, California with his wife Marilyn and is the proud father of Jenna and Stephanie.

Learn more about Johan as a speaker.

Praise for A Grizzly Tale

“More than a story of a bear attack, this is the incredible story of a father and daughter’s love, determination, resilience, and triumph. Johan and Jenna fought to survive both the attack and the life threatening injuries, fought during extensive recovery, and grew in ways that have inspired many, including the rescue teams that helped them survive a grizzly bear attack on the side of a mountain in Glacier National Park’s backcountry.”

Gary Moses

Lake McDonald District Ranger, Glacier National Park

“Do miracles exist? My friends and colleagues ask that question and I think we both know the answer. You will too after you read this story of courage. Johan Otter will take you step-by- step through an exciting vacation – to a terrifying Grizzly Bear attack – the brave rescuers putting themselves in harm’s way and a dynamic rescue off the edge of a cliff – to the dramatic and almost choreographed care of an emergency department team connected to a trauma system in another state. The story is also about the love of a family – caring medical professionals – the caring of an employer- and the ultimate recovery of a brave man. This could be a fictional movie but it’s not. It’s the real deal.”

Chris Van Gorder, FACHE

President/Chief Executive Officer, Scripps Health

“There is no better way to explain a concept than with a story – and A Grizzly Tale is an epic story of how a trauma system functions at its best. A harrowing and fascinating read, it is also a tale of great personal courage and character revealed in adversity.”

A. Brent Eastman, MD, FACS

President, American College Surgeons 2012-2013