A PALM Bay surfer has entered recovery after a gruesome shark attack.
In July, Chris Popsil was dragged underwater after a shark latched on to his left ankle.
“I looked down, and I saw my foot in its mouth. And it bit down on my foot, and it pushed me over the side of my board,” Popsil told Florida Today.
“And I was underwater, and I kicked it and it let go. And I resurfaced up and started screaming for my friend Reece to come get me,” he said.
Popsil, a member of the University of Central Florida surf team, slipped out of consciousness on the beach because of blood loss and due to the sight of his mangled foot.
Seven tendons in his foot were severed, bone was exposed, and he was rapidly losing blood.
It took four hours of emergency surgery to save Popsil’s foot and his life. Now, after getting off antibiotic IVs last month, his real recovery begins.
Popsil took a big step forward, going from crutches to a walking boot, but he still has a long way to go before being 100 percent.
His graduation from college remains postponed until he can properly attend classes again, and Popsil isn’t cleared to go back to his construction job.
“It’s been hard. It’s definitely very hard mentally,” Pospisil said.
“My mental health is kind of suffering a little bit, just in the fact that it’s like going from being a normal 21-year-old, 22-year-old guy going out with your friends or surfing every day or going to the gym.”
Doctors will reevaluate Popsil’s ankle at the end of the month to determine if he is ready to start what could be almost a year’s worth of physical therapy.
On top of that burden is the medical bills, which he fears will reach into the tens of thousands.
Fortunately for Popsil, a concert series is being held in his benefit in Melbourne with proceeds going towards medical expenses.
On top of that, his cousin Ashley Lumetta already raised over $10,000 via GoFundMe.