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Shark attack survivor, Addison Bethea, discharged from TMH

Posted at 7:15 PM, Aug 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-05 19:15:21-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — At Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare's Rehabilitation Center, you won't find Addison Bethea.

"I'm very excited because I'm ready to be home and ready to be back in my hometown," said Bethea.

After calling TMH her home for the past 35 days, Addison is heading home.

"Just being myself, being normal, and doing things that I used to do," said Addison on what she's planning on doing once she's back home.

Addison had her right leg amputated in July after she was attacked by what her family said, was a nine foot shark in Taylor County near Keaton Beach.

Since her amputation, Addison has been receiving support from people not only from Florida, but from across the country. At one point, letters piled up on her hospital bed.

"I never expected all of this," said Addison. "From my hometown they've always been supportive of people when they're in need, but it's been to the max."

Addison's Rehab team has been working to help her regain strength on her lower body, however, Physical Therapist Denean Sykes says they've been preparing Addison for what comes next, her prosthetic.

"In preparation for having a prosthetic leg, there are certain movements that they patient needs to do with their hip and so we have to maintain the integrity of the lower limb, the residual limb and the hip," said Sykes.

Sykes said Addison's motivation to get back better than ever, a reason why she's leaving so early.

"Her determination, number one, her attitude, the way that she's approached things, has just been amazing and one of the reasons why you see her leaving now just 17 days here, versus maybe four weeks when she first came here, that was a guesstimate when she first came here," said Sykes.

Addison's dad, Shane Bethea, proud of how far his daughter has come, leaving TMH on her own.

"Seeing her from the very beginning, seeing the damage of what was done and how far she has come in a very short time, because, it was very extensive on the damage but she has done awesome," said Shane. "She surprises everybody everywhere she goes."