Getting bitten by a shark is never on a family’s itinerary when enjoying a vacation to Mexico, but it was an unfortunate reality for the Armijo family earlier this month. On the last day of their trip, the family decided to take a trip to the beach and spend some time in the ocean, which is normally a harmless adventure.
Abby Armijo was on the beach while her two sons were knee-deep in the ocean. Everything was going well, but things took a turn for the worse when she heard her son scream – and that’s when she saw what happened. “That moment is the most overwhelming thing I’ve ever experienced in my life,” she said.
It was her 10-year-old son, Dillon Armijo, who screamed and it only took seconds for his mother, his brother, and several bystanders (including a lifeguard) to spring into action. All they saw was blood in the water, which was a tell-tale sign that Dillon had been bitten by a shark. They needed to act very fast.
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“It just felt like a bump, like a really sharp bump … just like a big wave that hit me. And I just didn’t see anything. I just I saw the blood,” Dillon said of the moment he realized he had been bitten by a shark. His brother was the one who dragged him onto the sand before his mother and the others jumped in to help.
Luckily, the lifeguard had a tourniquet handy – a small strap used to prevent blood flow from reaching a certain part of the body. They wrapped the tourniquet around his leg and he was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital, where he spent the next four days – extending their trip for all the wrong reasons.
“It was terrifying. I didn’t know how bad it was. Just as a mom, I was helpless, and that’s a horrible, horrible feeling,” Dillon’s mother said. He was eventually airlifted to a hospital in Colorado, where they learned the true extent of his injury and what his treatment and subsequent recovery would look like.
“All of the tendons on both sides of his knee were gone. A lot of nerve damage in his feet. So he’s no longer able to lift his foot. He’ll have a drop foot, but he will be able to run and jump and play soccer like normal in time, so that’s the best we can hope for,” his father, Zack Armijo, told Good Morning America.
Dillon Continues to Recover From Shark Bite
Despite being just 10 years old, Dillon Armijo is handling his shark bite like a champ. He’s currently at home recovering from the bite and, while he isn’t able to walk yet, he plans on returning to his normal activities at some point in the near future. It’s something that keeps him motivated to continue recovery.
And while most 10-year-olds would fear returning to the site of their horrific tragedy, Dillon hopes to one day return to the ocean. “He is brave and he’s strong. And if he wants to go back into the ocean, then I think that’s fantastic,” his mother said. Even a shark bite isn’t going to stop him from living out his best life.
As for others who plan on taking to the ocean with summer quickly approaching, many experts want you to know just how rare something like this is. While everyone should be aware of the risk that comes with stepping foot in the ocean, it should never stop anyone from enjoying the beauty that comes with it.
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According to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack Files, there were only 57 reports of unprovoked shark attacks in the entire world – 41 of which occurred in the United States. And of those 57, only five of them were fatal and the other 52 were able to recover in some or all capacity.
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