12-year-old boy continues making progress in recovery after shark bite

Boy still in hospital, more treatment ahead

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A 12-year-old boy who was bitten by a shark earlier this week is making progress in his recovery.

Jai Villamil, who was one of two people bitten in New Smyrna Beach Monday, was able to have some friends visit him in the hospital. His family said Jai suffered a lot of nerve damage and doctors believe he was likely bitten more than once by the shark.

[TRENDING: 5 inland lagoons planned for Central Fla. | Navy to drop bombs in Ocala National Forest | Is it legal to drive barefoot?]

In video shared to News 6, Jai says doctors are planning to use nerves from his uninjured leg to place in the other.

“They took out all that bacteria from the shark bite,” Jai said in the video update.

The family has credited surfer Charley Hajek, director of Gnarly Charley’s Surf Series, with helping save the boy’s life.

“It kind of cut his calf really bad and it left a pretty nice size hole in his leg,” Hajek said. “So I was out there, I brought him in. He was bleeding really, really bad so we stopped the bleeding with a surfboard leash.”

A report said Florida is still the shark bite capital of the country and Volusia County led the state with eight bites last year. An online fundraiser has collected more than $20,000 to put toward his recovery.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.