Davidson girl recovering from shark's bite
Kendall Parker, 13, has 40 stitches as a reminder of Wrightsville Beach encounter last weekend.
By Brooke Sutherland
Posted: Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2010
Kendall Parker, 13, of Davidson was bit by a shark this past weekend while swimming near the Shell Island Resort. PHOTO BY BROOKE SUTHERLAND
The last time Kendall Parker visited Wrightsville Beach she had a typical vacation, filled with sandcastles and swimming.
This weekend was different, filled with a shark bite and trip to the hospital.
Kendall, 13, of Davidson, was bitten by a shark Saturday while swimming near the Shell Island Resort.
"I was in the water ... and I felt pressure on my arm," Kendall said, now recovering at home. "It didn't even hurt because it happened so fast."
Kendall said she didn't see the shark, which is good because if she had she would have "freaked out and screamed."
But she did see a lot of blood in the water, and the bite was serious enough to require 40 stitches on her right hand and arm and possible tendon surgery.
Kendall said her arm and hand occasionally throb, and she can't move her index finger because of a severed tendon. She'll have to take a break from her summer softball team, but she hasn't let the bite slow her down.
When asked if her family served her breakfast in bed, Kendall laughed: "Oh no, I've got to get up." Kendall did get a free dessert "for being a trooper" when her family went to dinner after she was released from the hospital.
"The manager couldn't believe it," she said of the bite.
Neither could Kendall's best friend, Karly Adams, 12, of Huntersville, whom she called immediately when she got back to her hotel.
"At first ... I thought she was playing a joke on me," Karly said.
But shark attacks off the Carolina coast are no joke. Only two days after Kendall's incident, a 10-year-old boy was bitten on the leg in Myrtle Beach on Monday.
This year there have been seven confirmed shark attacks off the Carolinas, said George Burgess, curator of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida, which tracks attacks worldwide.
The yearly S.C. average number of shark attacks between 2003 and 2009 was three, he said. North Carolina had an average of 1.5 during the same period.
Summer is the prime time for shark attacks because warmer temperatures attract both more people and more sharks, which migrate seasonally, said Paul Barrington with the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher.
This summer's heat wave might have led to a greater number of sharks earlier than usual, said Dr. Frank Schwartz, a professor at the University of North Carolina's Institute of Marine Sciences.
"This year we're ahead of schedule," he said. "This (heat) usually occurs around August and September."
Even in warm waters, the chances of a shark attack are slim, Burgess said.
"There are more people injured by stepping on seashells or getting severe sunburn," he said. "That said, one should always remember when one enters the sea that it is a wilderness experience."
Burgess advised beachgoers to avoid swimming between dusk and dawn and to stay in groups.
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