Addison Bethea: Florida teen who lost her leg in shark attack starts walking on crutches after amputation
TAYLOR COUNTY, FLORIDA: A teenger, who lost her leg because of a harrowing shark attack, has now started walking on crutches after her amputation surgery above the knee. As per reports, the family of Addison Bethea shared a video last week that showed her trying to walk inside the hospital with the help of her doctor and brother Rhett.
Another video was posted on the Facebook page of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (where Bethea is receving treatment) on July 8 that also showed her limping down the hospital hallway. The video was a re-share from a Facebook page, called Fight Like Addison. The caption of the footage read: "6 days post shark attack. 1 day post op. Our girl took her first steps today and managed to make it all the way down the hallway! She is such a warrior. nothing is going to stop her from gaining back her life."
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Addison’s leg was reportedly ripped off by the 9ft predator on June 30 while she was scalloping in the water, around five feet deep, off the coast of Keaton Beach near Big Grassy Island. However, her 22-year-old brother saved her life by jumping into the water, where he "beat the shark until the juvenile was free,” the Taylor County Sheriff's Office had said.
The 17-year-old girl’s father Shane Bethea told DailyMail.com his daughter was in a great mood last Wednesday, July 13, as she attended a miniature press conference with a few local media outlets. He said, “She was in a great mood. She felt really good. She was riding around in the wheelchair with her brother pushing her all over and popping wheelies.” But a day later, the teen felt some pain and fatigue. Her father said she has been working on her recovery, both physically and mentally. It has also been said that prior to getting a prosthetic, Addison’s amputation site needs to heal properly.
Dr Matthew Bank, a trauma surgeon with NorthShore University Medical Center, explained to DailyMail.com, “An above the knee amputation is typically more difficult in terms of recovery as opposed to a below the knee amputation. The fact that she is young and in good physical shape before the shark attack and before the amputation that will help her in her recovery, so that is on her side.”
The surgeon went on to say that “it is truly difficult to know what she will be able to do and not to do once she has her prosthetic, but said there have been significant developments with prosthetic limbs over the last 20 years mostly relating to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
In terms of the psychological effect of the attack on Addison, Bank said, “It's unfortunate and it's upsetting,” but also added that “I have had many patients who had traumatic leg amputations that survived and went on to have a very fulfilling and productive life.” Meanwhile, Addison also displayed courage and confidence despite going through so much. The passionate swimmer, who is also a cheerleader and tennis player at her high school, reportedly said, “Once my leg is healed I am going back in the water. Even though so much may be unknown you have to just fight through the unexpected.”
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The young woman’s father has praised both Addison and Rhett as well as the doctors who are treating his daughter. Calling her a “trooper,” he said, “The goal is for her to have a prosthetic leg. The doctors here have been more than wonderful. They have explained every step patiently and thoroughly.” He then added: “If Rhett hadn't been there, we would be at the funeral home instead of the hospital. That is for sure. That boy is the definition of a hero.”