LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A local teen is recovering in Florida from a shark attack, dealing with hundreds of stitches and how she fought off the shark by punching it.
Caitlyn Taylor is a 17-year-old Atherton High School Junior. Her team is in Destin, Florida for spring break playing in a tournament when the attack happened.
It happened Sunday around 3:30 p.m.
“I started hearing people screaming and I looked over to the right and that's when I saw her teammates and she had a teammate on each side supporting her, coming up the beach and that's when I saw all the blood all over her legs,” Caitlyn’s mother, Tracey Taylor, said.
She said on Sunday, the softball team couldn’t wait to get in the water and their condo, Sun Destin right on the beach.
Tracey says her daughter was in the second sandbar in the Gulf when she was attacked.
“Caitlyn says she turned around and the head of it was coming towards her with a wave and she said she turned to swim back to shore and she says she felt it just grab her and lift her off of the bottom and push her and she was able to run around and use her hands to fight it off,” Taylor said.
Taylor told WHAS11 News the ambulance driver told them that Caitlyn's great shape likely saved her life.
“He told us that being strong and having the muscle in her legs that pretty much saved her main artery and the things in her legs from having to be amputated. It’s surreal, you just don't think it’s going to happen to anyone you love or anyone you know and when it does it just kind of puts things into perspective.”
Caitlyn pitches and plays short stop.
Her mother says through tears that she told her daughter, “God still has a purpose for you because you're still here.”
The type of shark that bit Caitlyn is still undetermined.
Caitlyn received between 120 and 140 stitches in both of her legs.