Teen Shark Attack Survivor Gets a New Prosthetic Leg

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Nearly three months after losing her leg in a shark attack, a 17-year-old girl is now beginning a new phase of life with a prosthetic leg.

Addison Bethea was out searching for scallops in shallow waters off the coast of Florida, when a 10-foot shark, believed to be a bull shark, chomped down on her right leg.

Thankfully, her older brother Rhett, a firefighter, was with her at the time and swam to her rescue.

“I was in shock,” Addison said. “I tried to punch it off of me, trying to punch it in its nose, cause that’s what you’re supposed to do when you fight a shark.”

Back on the boat, her brother tied a tourniquet around her leg, which Addison credits with saving her life. 

During surgery, her right leg had to be amputated just above her knee, but that hasn’t kept her spirit down. She started off in a wheelchair, then moved on to crutches and even climbed stairs for the first time.

Inside Edition was given exclusive access inside Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates of Orlando as Addison was fitted with a brand-new leg. The state-of-the-art prosthetic costs around $75,000.

Within no time, the brave teen was walking again on both feet. The clinic’s founder, Stan Patterson, calls her new, natural gait remarkable.

“It’s very unusual. She’s an overachiever,” Patterson said.

Her parents were overcome with emotion. 

“She’s amazing. From the moment she started waking up in the hospital, she’s just kind of astounded everyone,” her mom said. 

By the day’s end, Addison walked out of therapy on her own — each step a little closer towards a new life.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for Addison’s recovery and on-going medical costs.

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