TAYLOR COUNTY, Fla. (WSVN) — From a difficult recovery in the hospital to cheerleading, the teenage victim of a horrifying shark attack in North Florida is bouncing back.
Seventeen-year-old Addison Bethea lost her right leg following the June 30 attack off Keaton Beach, near the Florida Panhandle.
“I know a lot of people would get down about having an amputation this severe, but I just keep a positive mindset and keep friends and family close,” she said.
Bethea has a lot to be grateful for after her life was forever altered, but the teen said not everything has changed.
“Honestly, everything is still the same, other than the leg. I walk a little bit slower, but I still do what I used to do,” she said.
Bethea was scallop hunting with her family when a 9-foot shark bit her in the thigh. Her brother, firefighter and emergency medical technician Rhett Willingham, came to her rescue after she screamed for help.
The teen said her brother managed to fend off the marine predator and provide emergency support after he pulled her to safety.
Bethea said she’s not letting the loss of her leg dampen her spirits.
“I like four-wheelers and stuff, so I get to do that sometimes. I like to go hunting, so I went hunting over the weekend and sat in the stands. It was fun,” she said.
Bethea recently cheered for her first football game of her senior season, and she walked in the homecoming court at Taylor County High School without a wheelchair or even crutches.
Shane Bethea, the teen’s father, said she was just in Orlando getting fitted for a new prosthetic.
“As the leg continues to shrink some, then the socket, which is the upper portion, they’ll have to change it periodically,” he said.
“Well, the progress has been really fast, so progressing with it also keeps my spirits up,” said the teen, “but my spirits haven’t really been that down since it happened. There’s no time to really be sad about it.”
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