High-jumper Chris Dodd was in the form of his life.
Training hard and ranked fourth in the country, his dream to make the Australian squad for next year’s Rio Olympics was on track.
But a fortnight ago, the 25-year-old father-of-two was faced with a frightening reality and chose to risk his life and sacrifice his Olympic dream to save his daughter.
While the family was getting out of the car, Chris’ wife Kellie called out for help as it started rolling down the driveway towards four-year-old Ella.
But Chris managed to get his daughter out of harm’s way just in time.
“Being a father, you want to protect your kids and it felt weird throwing my kid, so I just remember picking her up and trying to get her out of the way… but the car was right at us, so I sort of just held her with my arms out to the side,” he told The Project.
“I just felt myself being knocked down and the wheels rolling over me and then sort of being rolled around and then landing on the ground.”
He was pinned under the car for 90 excruciating minutes and suffered injuries to his spine and bladder and two fractures to his pelvis.
Ella escaped with only minor bruising. But it will be at least three months before Chris is expected to walk unaided.
With an expected recovery time of 12 months, his Olympic dreams are well and truly on the backburner.
But the PE teacher is focusing on the positives.
“If the wheel didn’t run over my pelvis, it would have crushed my organs, more vertebrae in the back and it could have severed the spinal cord,” he said.
“The main thing I remember thinking in the helicopter was if I don’t jump again I can handle that. I was just happy that I could move my legs.”
Watch The Project interview here:
But the medical bills are already adding up and Chris, who won’t be able to work for the next year, doesn’t have health insurance.
Luckily, the local community has rallied around him and already raised more than $22,000 for the family on an online fundraising page.
And we’re sure little Ella will be looking up to her Dad for a long time to come.
“She knows dad is her hero so they’ve got a very good bond, those two,” her mum Kellie said.
To donate, check out the Go Fund Me page here.