06/27/2005 Graig Adam Hutto (Florida)

Shark Attack Survivors News Archive for Shark Attacks in 2005

06/27/2005 Graig Adam Hutto (Florida)

Postby sharkbait » Wed Apr 19, 2006 11:10 am

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published by news-press.com on June 27, 2005

PENSACOLA — A shark attacked and critically injured a teenage boy off Florida’s Panhandle on Monday, two days after a 14-year-old Louisiana girl died after a shark bit her leg.

The boy, whose age and name wasnÂ’t immediately released, was bitten off Cape San Blas and was taken to Bay Medical Center in Panama City on Monday morning, hospital spokeswoman Christa Hild said. The boy was listed in critical condition with severe injuries, but the nature of the injuries were not yet being released, Hild said.

Cape San Blas is a narrow spit of land protruding into the Gulf of Mexico from Gulf County, about 80 miles southwest of Tallahassee.

The cape is a popular vacation destination east of the area where 14-year-old Jamie Marie Daigle was fatally injured by a shark on Saturday.

Daigle, of Gonzales, La., had been had been swimming with a friend about 100 yards from shore in neighboring Walton County when a shark bit her in the leg. Paramedics and an air ambulance crew were unable to revive her.

Gulf County sheriffÂ’s officials didnÂ’t immediately return calls seeking comment on MondayÂ’s attack.
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Postby sharkbait » Wed Apr 19, 2006 11:10 am

Family tells of shark attack horror

Friends, teammates from Lebanon visit teenager in Florida hospital

By LEON ALLIGOOD
Staff Writer


PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Craig Hutto, by all accounts, should be dead today.

The Lebanon teenager bled excessively Monday from a shark bite that drew the world's attention to this vacation destination on the Florida Panhandle.




But yesterday evening, the 16-year-old who turns 17 this coming Wednesday was eating chocolate ice cream being fed to him by his uncle and sipping a carton of fruit juice through a straw.

"Hi,'' he said, gently nodding his head in a hospital bed just feet away from the watchful eyes of intensive care unit nurses.

Both hands were heavily bandaged from cuts incurred while fighting to get away from the shark that bit into his leg as he and his older brother were fishing. A sheet covered his lower body, a rounded hump revealing where his right leg was amputated by surgeons.

Craig was alert, his green eyes taking in new visitors. A steady stream of them have come as Lebanon friends made the long trip down to Florida to show their support, including some of his basketball teammates at Lebanon High.

Lou Ann Hutto, the boy's mother, smiled at her son.

"The doctor said he needs to get some nourishment,'' she said.

"Did they get you your medicine?" she asked.

He nodded "yes."

Instead of being back in Lebanon today in line with vacation plans, Craig and his parents will remain in the Panama City hospital. His mother, who works at Toshiba in Lebanon, and his father, Roger, who is general counsel for the Tennessee Department of Safety, would have preferred to have had a normal vacation, even a ho-hum holiday.

They are breathing deeply once again after a few days of dark uncertainty. The earthquake that upset their lives has settled, somewhat.

Roger and Lou Ann, speaking for the first time in person yesterday evening with reporters, now call the youngest of their three sons their "miracle boy."

"That's all you can say, that God had a hand in saving his life — because there's no other explanation,'' said Lou Ann, sitting in a small room on the second floor of Bay Medical Center. Roger was seated next to her. The couple wore their vacation clothes, but their faces showed the strain and anguish of the past four days. "He's doing better. He's not well yet, but he's doing better,'' Roger said.

The couple said time has been a blur since Monday morning when Craig was attacked by the shark. This morning they are scheduled to be interviewed by the major television networks.

"It seems like so long ago since all this happened. I don't think I've even been outside since I got here,'' Roger Hutto said.

Yet the couple said Monday morning's events were still fresh in their minds. Craig and his parents had arrived late Saturday night. Their oldest son, Brian, and his wife, Megan, also of Lebanon, had arrived earlier that day. The couple's middle son, Zach, had remained at home because he had just been to Panama City a few weeks earlier for his senior trip after graduating from high school.

Monday morning, Roger said, the family had walked from their rented condo to the beach, and the brothers had begun to fish in a spot where they had caught fish the previous day. "They were catching fish and were bringing them in for us to see. We were taking pictures and videos,'' said Lou Ann.

"Craig said, 'Let's go out to that same spot.' They were kind of running. They weren't waist deep."

Brian had caught a nice-sized fish, about 14 to 18 inches, so they had hopes of catching more like that.

"The day was perfect. It was cloudy so it wasn't hot. We were just sitting there in the chairs, and they were coming back every time they caught one. The water was never over waist deep," Roger said.

"They go back out there. They're maybe 10 feet apart and then all of a sudden Craig starts hollering. You can tell something is wrong. You think first that some fish is nibbling on him or he stepped on something. Then he was just jerked under. You can't ... imagine. At that point Brian went over to him. At that point we all knew what was going on."

What followed were minutes that seemed like hours as Brian, Roger and a man who was staying in another condo all struggled to get Craig to shore with the shark still holding on.

"It's just too much like a movie. The shark just reared his head up, and we saw what it was. Then he let go," Roger said.

Craig was laid down on the sand, and two nurses, also staying in nearby condos, immediately came to offer aid. A doctor and an emergency medical technician also happened to be on the scene.

"The water was just covered with blood. I looked at his leg, and I knew we had a serious problem. This was bad,'' said Roger.

The nurses, the doctor and the EMT, as well as other vacationers who brought towels and ice, are responsible for giving their boy a chance to one day tell his story to his grandchildren, the Huttos said.

"They saved his life. There's no question in my mind. They got him to the point that he could be brought to the hospital and have surgery,'' his father said.


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Postby sharkbait » Wed Apr 19, 2006 11:11 am

Nov. 18, 2005 -- Craig Hutto was a talented high school basketball and baseball player, but last June, it seemed like his athletic days had come to a tragic end.

Craig, of Lebanon, Tenn., was vacationing with his family in Florida and had been spending the day fishing in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of the Florida Panhandle. While he was standing in waist-deep water, a 6- to 8-foot bull shark took hold of his right leg.

At first the shark just bumped him.

"It was just a bump," Craig said, "and I was praying it was just a little kid messing with me."

Then Craig saw the fin. The next thing he knew, he was being dragged under the water. The shark bit into Craig's right femur, destroying most of the muscle, nerves and blood vessels in the thigh. Doctors amputated the leg. Craig remembers the attack vividly and used to have flashbacks, he said.

It also bit Craig's hands, which have regained mobility but are severely scarred.

Brian Hutto, Craig's older brother, dragged Craig to shore and punched the shark multiple times. But the shark was persistent and kept biting Craig until the brothers were just two feet from shore. Their stunned parents, Louann and Roger Hutto, watched from the beach.

"It looked like something straight out of 'Jaws'," Louann Hutto said.

Craig received medical care on the beach from lifeguards, EMTs and bystanders.

"Just by a miracle, there were three nurses on the beach," Roger Hutto said.

Then Craig was taken to the hospital via helicopter.

Two days earlier, 14-year-old Jamie Daigle was killed by a bull shark in the same area. Nevertheless, experts say that shark attacks in that area are relatively rare. Most of the state's shark attacks take place in Central Florida, not the waters off the Panhandle.

Two months ago, Craig got a prosthetic leg and his progress has been impressive. He no longer uses crutches.

"I want to be able to walk so well with the prosthetic leg that when I have my pant leg down, you can't even tell," he said. "Right now, I limp a little bit. But with practice I want to make that go away."

He receives advice and encouragement from his mentors, amputee athletes Sarah Reinertsen — who completed the Iron Man challenge — and John Siciliano — who also was an accomplished high school athlete. Craig recently flew out to San Diego to watch the two compete in a triathlon.

Although his main goal is to get back out on the basketball court or the baseball diamond before he graduates from high school in 2007. In the immediate future, Craig and brothers Zach and Brian have set an important goal: to compete in a triathlon together. Zach will do the cycling, Brian will run and Craig will get back in the water and swim.

Craig said that despite what he's been through, he's not afraid of the water.

"Everybody thinks I should be really scared, but it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing," he said of the shark attack. "You don't need to be scared every time you get in the water."

Despite all that he has lost, Craig and his family are thankful he is alive and Craig has found the silver lining.

"It's made me live life a lot better than I did," he said. "I enjoy things I used to take for granted, like walking. Everyone takes walking for granted, but now I am really happy to be able to walk."

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=1322141
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Postby sharkbait » Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:44 am

Shark attack survivor tells tale
2006-07-26
by Brent Tolman
of The Daily Times Staff

``What comes to mind when one goes on family vacation?''

The question was posed by Craig Hutto to Maryville Kiwanis at Green Meadow Country Club Tuesday.

His own answer was a tale of pain, courage and determination.

For Craig last summer, a week before his 17th birthday, his vacation included being attacked by a shark and having his leg amputated.

The story begins on a Friday, June 24, 2005, with Craig starting on a road trip to Florida from his home of Lebanon near Nashville as part of one of his family's ``field trips.'' Over the course of the weekend, Craig fishes and swims with his brother Brian and, ironically enough, eats at a restaurant called Sharkey's.

The attack occurs Monday morning, June 27, while Craig is fishing with his brother in the surf off the Florida Panhandle at Cape San Blas, a narrow strip of land extending into the Gulf of Mexico.

``The plan for the day was just to hang out and relax,'' Craig said.

After his brother catches a large fish, the two start walking out toward a sandbar and reach a gully with Brian standing 10 feet to Craig's right.

``That's when I felt something bump my leg,'' Craig said.

At first he hopes it is just another kid playing a joke on him, but the next bump is a shark biting down on his right leg.

``The best way to describe it is an intense shaking pressure and not necessarily pain,'' Craig said. ``People say it was 6 to 8 feet and it was a bull shark.''

As he fights his way toward shore, his brother Brian begins punching the shark to try and make it release Craig. When he reaches down to try and fend off the shark, Craig's hands are torn up by its teeth.

When they reach the shore, Craig's father, Roger, and a stranger grab him before the Shark finally swims away.

``It was remarkable, because out of nowhere nurses and EMTs showed up,'' Craig said.

Emergency workers attempt to stop the bleeding of the main arteries in the leg by applying a tourniquet.

``That was the worst pain I have ever felt.''

He is flown by helicopter to Bay Medical Center in Panama City and given 3,500 cubic centimeters of blood. The human body normally holds 6,000.

His condition is critical. He goes straight into surgery, where he is told he will either lose his leg or his life.

``I said, `Mom, please don't let them take my leg.'''

Choosing his life, the leg is amputated above the knee at midthigh. While in the hospital, Craig is not sure whether he is going to survive the ordeal. His coaches, family, friends, and strangers visit him.

For his damaged hands, Craig endures a 10-hour surgery that leaves him unable to use his hands for a long time. While he is recovering, Craig's mom, Lou Ann, helps him eat, drink, and do anything else he needed.

``I thought it was kind of funny; my mom said she didn't deal with blood,'' Craig said.

Back home to recover

When he returns to Tennessee he has to overcome a lot of obstacles and relies on faith, family, and friends to make it through.

``The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was accepting that I lost my leg, especially the way I lost it,'' Craig said.

He learns to drive with his left foot and endures media coverage on his first day of school on July 27. Fortunately, Craig has a group of friends to greet him.

On Sept. 21, Craig receives his first prosthetic leg, which was heavy and painful.

``Over the course of the next few weeks, I had to practice walking,'' he said. ``It took a lot of hard work and determination.''

Today, Craig has three specially fitted prosthetic legs: one for heavy-duty work, a $57,000 basic hydraulic walking leg that lets him walk down stairs with the aid of a computer chip, and a running leg that costs $15,000 to $17,000.

``It's a necessity,'' Craig said. ``It can take a while to get used to,''

He is able to use his hands with the help of wire running from the tip of his finger to the palm of his left hand.

``I have yet to be limited on anything I do,'' Craig said.

Looking to the future

To date, he has appeared several times on television to talk about his experience and given speeches to elementary and high schools.

``Hopefully, I can be an inspiration for others,'' said Craig, who has not given up on athletic competition.

Craig is training for a triathlon in November, where he will compete in the swimming portion.

Because he is still mastering running with his new leg, Craig is not yet playing basketball or baseball again.

``My plans are to get back there, though.''

He will be a senior this year at Lebanon High School and hopes to attend Middle Tennessee State University or Tennessee Tech.


Shark attack survivor tells tale
2006-07-26
by Brent Tolman
of The Daily Times Staff

``What comes to mind when one goes on family vacation?''

The question was posed by Craig Hutto to Maryville Kiwanis at Green Meadow Country Club Tuesday.

His own answer was a tale of pain, courage and determination.

For Craig last summer, a week before his 17th birthday, his vacation included being attacked by a shark and having his leg amputated.

The story begins on a Friday, June 24, 2005, with Craig starting on a road trip to Florida from his home of Lebanon near Nashville as part of one of his family's ``field trips.'' Over the course of the weekend, Craig fishes and swims with his brother Brian and, ironically enough, eats at a restaurant called Sharkey's.

The attack occurs Monday morning, June 27, while Craig is fishing with his brother in the surf off the Florida Panhandle at Cape San Blas, a narrow strip of land extending into the Gulf of Mexico.

``The plan for the day was just to hang out and relax,'' Craig said.

After his brother catches a large fish, the two start walking out toward a sandbar and reach a gully with Brian standing 10 feet to Craig's right.

``That's when I felt something bump my leg,'' Craig said.

At first he hopes it is just another kid playing a joke on him, but the next bump is a shark biting down on his right leg.

``The best way to describe it is an intense shaking pressure and not necessarily pain,'' Craig said. ``People say it was 6 to 8 feet and it was a bull shark.''

As he fights his way toward shore, his brother Brian begins punching the shark to try and make it release Craig. When he reaches down to try and fend off the shark, Craig's hands are torn up by its teeth.

When they reach the shore, Craig's father, Roger, and a stranger grab him before the Shark finally swims away.

``It was remarkable, because out of nowhere nurses and EMTs showed up,'' Craig said.

Emergency workers attempt to stop the bleeding of the main arteries in the leg by applying a tourniquet.

``That was the worst pain I have ever felt.''

He is flown by helicopter to Bay Medical Center in Panama City and given 3,500 cubic centimeters of blood. The human body normally holds 6,000.

His condition is critical. He goes straight into surgery, where he is told he will either lose his leg or his life.

``I said, `Mom, please don't let them take my leg.'''

Choosing his life, the leg is amputated above the knee at midthigh. While in the hospital, Craig is not sure whether he is going to survive the ordeal. His coaches, family, friends, and strangers visit him.

For his damaged hands, Craig endures a 10-hour surgery that leaves him unable to use his hands for a long time. While he is recovering, Craig's mom, Lou Ann, helps him eat, drink, and do anything else he needed.

``I thought it was kind of funny; my mom said she didn't deal with blood,'' Craig said.

Back home to recover

When he returns to Tennessee he has to overcome a lot of obstacles and relies on faith, family, and friends to make it through.

``The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was accepting that I lost my leg, especially the way I lost it,'' Craig said.

He learns to drive with his left foot and endures media coverage on his first day of school on July 27. Fortunately, Craig has a group of friends to greet him.

On Sept. 21, Craig receives his first prosthetic leg, which was heavy and painful.

``Over the course of the next few weeks, I had to practice walking,'' he said. ``It took a lot of hard work and determination.''

Today, Craig has three specially fitted prosthetic legs: one for heavy-duty work, a $57,000 basic hydraulic walking leg that lets him walk down stairs with the aid of a computer chip, and a running leg that costs $15,000 to $17,000.

``It's a necessity,'' Craig said. ``It can take a while to get used to,''

He is able to use his hands with the help of wire running from the tip of his finger to the palm of his left hand.

``I have yet to be limited on anything I do,'' Craig said.

Looking to the future

To date, he has appeared several times on television to talk about his experience and given speeches to elementary and high schools.

``Hopefully, I can be an inspiration for others,'' said Craig, who has not given up on athletic competition.

Craig is training for a triathlon in November, where he will compete in the swimming portion.

Because he is still mastering running with his new leg, Craig is not yet playing basketball or baseball again.

``My plans are to get back there, though.''

He will be a senior this year at Lebanon High School and hopes to attend Middle Tennessee State University or Tennessee Tech.

http://www.thedailytimes.com/sited/story/html/261739
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Re: 06/27/2005 Graig Adam Hutto (Florida)

Postby sharkbait » Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:52 am

MTSU student survives shark attack to walk into nursing
Jan. 7, 2008 - 11:28 AM

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When MTSU student Craig Hutto lost a leg, he gained a new appreciation of the medical profession—one so intense that it prompted him to change his major.

A week before his 17th birthday in June 2005, the Lebanon youngster was on vacation with his family at Cape Sand Blas, about 50 miles southeast of Panama City. As Craig was fishing with his brother Brian when a bull shark estimated to be six to eight feet long attacked Craig’s right leg. Brian grabbed his brother and tried desperately to pull him to shore as Craig tried to pry the creature’s jaws open only to witness his hands being ripped to shreds.

“Right when it bit me, I went straight into shock,” Craig says. “So I don’t know the exact spot where it bit me, but I know it bit me from mid-thigh all the way down in different spots.”

Unbeknownst to Craig at the time, the shark’s teeth had pierced his right femoral artery, which carries blood from the heart to the lower extremities. It was bleeding from this artery that cost Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor his life when he was shot in November 2007. Medical professionals say controlling hemorrhaging in the immediate aftermath of an injury to this artery is critical.

“To my advantage, there were three nurses, an EMT (emergency medical technician) and a doctor on the shore, just on vacation,” Craig says, “and right when I got on the shore, they immediately did what they were trained to do, which was elevate my right leg and then hold pressure on … my right femoral artery. I mean, they did everything they were supposed to do, and I believe that’s why I’m still alive today.”

While the ambulance arrived on the scene within 10 minutes, Craig had to wait inside the ambulance for 45 minutes for the LifeFlight helicopter to transport him to a Panama City hospital. He stayed there two-and-a-half weeks, enduring six operations. He walks today with a titanium prosthesis. However, when he concentrates on his walking, there is no evidence of a device because the shark did not rip his quadriceps muscle.

“Every time I walk, I’m supposed to fire the quad where I can just be sturdy and I won’t limp, but I always get lazy and just forget to do it,” Craig says. “I still walk around with a little limp all the time.”

Returning to athletics with an artificial leg was an issue for Craig, who excelled at baseball and basketball prior to the attack. He did not want to be the focus of undue attention or the recipient of pity from his competitors. Even so, in 2006, he flew to California and competed in a triathlon, forming a three-man team with both of his brothers. Brian ran; Zach biked; Craig swam. It was the first time he entered ocean water since the accident.

“I wasn’t too worried about it, honestly, until I got in the water,” Craig says, “and once I was in the water, I wasn’t freaking out, but I was questioning myself—like, why was I doing this?”

With the training of a coach who taught Craig how to adjust his swimming technique to accommodate the loss of his leg, the former lifeguard completed the 1.2 mile swim in 35 minutes.

“It’s just finding the balance on top of the water and then rotating your hips, not just your legs,” Craig says.

He altered more than just his swimming style. He changed his mind about the direction of his life. Craig says he was thinking about a career in computer science prior to the accident, but he says his tragic experience made him realize how important doctors and nurses really are. Now Craig is planning to become a nurse anesthetist.

Craig lost 3,500 cubic centimeters of blood in the accident. He was given two body transfusions and 16 extra pints of blood in the hospital. Now Craig makes it his mission to speak to anyone who will listen about the importance of donating blood.

“The greatest thing about giving blood is that someone will give a pint of blood and (might) never know who they’ll help at all,” he says.

The one thing Craig says he does know is that his Sigma Chi fraternity brothers will not allow him to think of himself either as a hero or a victim.

“All my friends … get on me, and I’m glad they do because that’s kind of what keeps me sane,” Craig says. “I’m glad they treat me like everybody else.”


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Re: 06/27/2005 Graig Adam Hutto (Florida)

Postby alb » Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:51 am

Shark bite victim becomes pioneer to serve amputees

As test pilot, MTSU student works out bugs in robotic leg

Craig Hutto’s leg was mangled by a 6-foot-long bull shark with a stubborn streak.

Not long before the attack, he’d heard about a Louisiana girl who died from a shark attack just 100 miles away from Cape San Blas, Fla., where Hutto, then 16, and his family were vacationing. But he just wanted to go fishing, so he was standing in murky water when he felt the first bump, then the agonizing bite. The shark seemed impervious as Hutto’s brother pounded away at its nose with a rod and reel.

Hours later, Hutto lay in a Panama City hospital bed, pleading that his mangled right leg be saved. No leg meant no varsity basketball. No spring baseball. No independence.

But doctors ultimately ruled in favor of life over his lifeless limb, amputating five inches above the knee.

Six years later, Hutto’s life is different from the one he planned. But he feels closer to his family. He’s a few months shy of his bachelor’s degree in nursing from Middle Tennessee State University — a path he never would have taken without that shark’s intervention. And he’s serving as test pilot for a robotic leg being developed at Vanderbilt University, his effort to make life better for the nation’s rising number of amputees.

“I was planning on doing computer science when I went to college,” he said. “Then this happened to me, and I realized these people saved my life and I have to do something to pay them back.”

As a lab assistant at Vanderbilt, Hutto, now 23, works with professor of mechanical engineering Michael Goldfarb and his team of researchers. The leg he’s testing is the first of its kind. It makes it easier for Hutto to walk up slopes and stairs because a computer chip activates an electronic calf muscle.

The leg also makes it easier for Hutto to stay standing because it responds to sudden shifts in motion the way non-mechanized prostheses don’t.

“When it goes on the market, I can tell myself I experienced the falls and mishaps to get it where it is today,” he said.

The robotic leg weighs about 9 pounds and features programmable software that responds to Hutto’s movement. It can tell when he’s trying to sit or stand, or when he needs extra help to walk up stairs. He has been testing the leg for four years, weighs in on the leg’s functionality and gives researchers feedback on any issues that may arise.

Hutto also reviews other studies and literature about prostheses for the team.

Up to the challenge

Vanderbilt researchers estimate there are 620,000 people in the United States with a major lower limb amputation, and about half are above the knee, similar to Hutto’s. Because of the prevalence of diabetes, that number is projected to double in the next 30 years, Goldfarb said.

He’s been working on the robotic leg since 2005, but his team is months from a finished product. It’s licensed to a company and should be on the market within a few years.

Goldfarb said it will be one of the most sophisticated devices on the market.

“We want to develop technology that improves quality of life for disabled persons,” he said. “No one had ever done this before, so it was unclear whether or not you could build a leg that had enough power and was light enough to replace the biomechanics of the knee and ankle.”

With his regular prosthetic leg, Hutto must exert about 60 percent more energy than a healthy person to walk. Goldfarb said the new leg will decrease the metabolic effort its user needs to walk, increase the rate he can walk, and lessen falls and injury.

Studies show that amputees fall at the same rate as elderly people because of the lack of reflexes and must seek medical attention as a result.

“We wanted someone that would not mind the physical challenge and was tolerant of a lot of bugs in the system,” Goldfarb said. “It’s so interactive that you have to be an amputee to test it. He’s uncovered countless number of bugs and had to have a lot of patience. Craig is really like a test pilot.”

Saved for purpose

Hutto’s outlook is much brighter now than on June 27, 2005, when a shark’s teeth changed his life. Within three months, he went from a wheelchair to crutches to a prosthetic leg. His junior year, he sat on the sideline through every basketball practice and game.

Before he left the hospital, depression began to set in. The advice of his brother Brian, who had grabbed Hutto and swum to shore while the shark was still gnawing at his leg, made the difference.

“He told me I needed to quit being a baby and that I had gone through the worst and needed to move on,” Hutto said. “That’s when I realized I couldn’t change anything. I know people don’t mean it, but I get mad when they feel sorry for me because it makes me think what I used to be like.”

There are still challenges. He has a slight limp and must examine his leg daily because the slightest sore left unattended could ultimately prevent him from walking. He has 90 percent functionality in his hands. And two fingers are still numb after the shark bit at his hands as Hutto struggled to pry it from his leg.

“I hated this (prosthetic) leg at first, mainly because I’d never felt something like that before,” he said.

“I just had this big weight hanging off my body, and I couldn’t see how I was going to be able to walk with this.

“Now, I refuse not to wear my leg even one day because that’s just a sense of my mobility gone out the door.”

He doesn’t get into the water much because it means shedding the leg, but he doesn’t fear the ocean.

He and his two older brothers participated in a tag-team triathlon in San Diego just a year after his accident. He completed the 1.2-mile swim portion of the half-Ironman event in the Pacific Ocean.

Hutto is among a relatively small group of people who have been attacked by a shark. In 2006-10, there were 179 attacks in the U.S., three fatal, according to Oceana, an international organization working to protect oceans.

“You almost have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting bit by a shark,” Hutto said.

After he graduates from MTSU in December, he plans to apply to Vanderbilt’s acute care nurse practitioner master’s program and then move onto the nurse anesthetist program. He’d like to work at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, where he got treatment after the attack.

“Everyone says he was saved for a purpose,” said Lou Ann Hutto, his mother. “We thought we would never know what that true purpose was. But now I think he’ll have the ability to touch so many lives. I’m just so proud that he wants to give back since so many people helped him. He’s just a blessing.”

Hutto knows he’s a changed man.

“I don’t take things for granted. Even something as small as walking. I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff,” he said.


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