UPDATE: Addison Bethea continues to recover after shark attack one month ago

Taylor Co. girl recovering from shark attack makes progress in physical therapy
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 4:52 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2022 at 6:13 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - From hospital bed to physical therapy, Saturday, July 30 marked the one month anniversary of the shark attack in Taylor County.

The 17-year-old Perry native and shark attack survivor was getting settled into a rehabilitation facility.

Addison Bethea went through five surgeries since June 30 when a roughly 9-ft-long shark latched itself onto her right thigh causing it to be amputated from above the knee down.

Addison was at the Tallahassee Memorial Rehabilitation Center for over a week as she continued to make strides in her recovery and relearns how to live life.

“She’s a fighter, she always has been,” said Addison’s best friend Avery Morgan.

The words of Avery Morgan after hearing the news that her best friend since pre-k had been attacked by a shark.

“It was crazy. At first, I was thinking it was just a little tap nothing crazy. I was in shock,” Morgan said.

Addison Bethea was in the rehabilitation center at TMH where doctors are impressed with her recovery process but she’s even surprised herself.

“I’m kind of impressed with myself too because I do push myself pretty hard,” said shark attack victim Addison Bethea.

Focused on recovery, she has been starting every morning in occupational therapy and ends it with physical therapy.

Every day she notices more and more what she’s capable of doing.

Like today, I worked on balance with just one leg and I figured out I could hop on one leg and i can kinda squat down on one leg. I was standing on my one leg for a solid 5 minutes moving my arms around trying to see if I would fall over and I didn’t,” Addison said.

Her father, Shane Bethea, admires her strength.

“I really don’t think I could’ve been as strong as she’s been especially when you understand the true extent of what her injury was and what they had to do to get her to the point where she is. she’s been a trooper,” said Addison’s father Shane Bethea.

Shane has been by Addison’s side every step of the way.

“It’s nice to be with her because I can see when she’s up obviously but I can also see when she is going down because there are good times and there are bad times and when those bad times happen, of course, you know, you kind of take the same ride she does,” Shane said.

It’s friends like Morgan that make Bethea’s darkest days feel a little brighter.

“It’s great having people support you the whole time because, without that support, you really couldn’t get through it by yourself, you’d get down in the pumps, and who going to lift your spirits when you’re down,” Addison said.

Addison is looking forward to the next step in the recovery process which is when she gets to go home.

Benefit ride and concert event for Perry native
Benefit ride and concert event for Perry native(WCTV)

There will be a benefit ride and concert for Addison called, “Fight Like Addison” on August 27.

Over 75 vendors are expected to attend, and there will be a motorcycle ride as well as musical performances by Taylor Woods, Blind Luck, and more.

All proceeds will go to the foundation created for the Bethea family.

There has also been a GoFundMe created and you can click here for the link.

Addison Bethea, who has been recovering from a shark attack, is out of the hospital and headed to rehab at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, according to the latest update the family has shared on their Facebook Page “Fight Like Addison.”

Guess who got to break out of the hospital today!! 🤜🏻🦈 Off to in-patient rehab she goes 👏🏻

Posted by Fight Like Addison on Tuesday, July 19, 2022

For our previous detailed coverage see below.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - After a brush with death, Perry native Addison Bethea is continuing to make progress as she recovers from a shark attack.

“It’s just about recovery and trying to figure out how to live a new type of life,” said survivor Addison Bethea.

The 17-year-old has officially started using assistive devices to help her in physical therapy.

“It’s my first day walking on crutches though, and I walked all the way down the hallway by myself and then with the walker too,” she said.

It’s been nearly two weeks since Bethea was bitten by a shark while scalloping off Keaton Beach. last week, doctors at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare amputated her right leg below the knee.

Bethea has remained in good spirits throughout this entire experience, and she said a lot of it wouldn’t have been possible without the solid support system she has behind her.

But, her biggest challenge this far comes at nighttime.

“It hurts really bad, it’s hard to sleep sometimes. Other than that, it’s okay but it really does hurt a lot,” Bethea said.

On Wednesday, she said she is relearning how to live life. She reached a new milestone: Bethea walked down the hallway using crutches for the first time. Bethea continues to take her new journey day by day, but she says she’s most looking forward to getting out and enjoying time with her friends.

Her mother, Michelle Murphy has not been surprised by Bethea’s strength and resiliency through this process.

“That is how she is. I mean she’s tough and she’s got faith, deep faith and that’s all real about her. From the time she was born she has pretty much made her own way in the world and she will with this too,” said Addison’s mother, Michelle Murphy.

Her family said it’s the love and support from people here and from all over the country that have helped her in this journey.

“It’s really overwhelming because it means a lot to us because there are so many people that have reached out and people with personal stories that have been through the same thing as Addison and talking to the parents or the kids that it happened to,” Murphy said.

But it’s the bond here at home with her older brother Rhett that remains the most meaningful.

“Like her and her brother, he’s pushing her around the hospital right now. There’s no telling where those two are. I said look they’re bonding and we’ll find them later. He’s popping wheelies with the wheelchair and she’s having a blast snap chatting it,” said Addison’s father, Shane Bethea.

“It’s just about recovery and trying to figure out how to live a new type of life,” said survivor Addison Bethea.

As she moves forward in the next steps of her recovery, Bethea remains eager for the days to come.

“Me and my friends would pretty much go out on the boat every single day before all of this happened. It was just like our thing to do so, of course, I want to get back out there as soon as possible and do what I normally do,” Bethea said.

Bethea is currently going through physical therapy, the next step is rehab before she gets to head home.

A GoFundMe page helping the family pay for medical expenses has collected more than $72,000 so far. You can follow Bethea’s journey by following the Fight Like Addison page on Facebook.


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