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Getting attacked by a great white shark is traumatic, emotionally, physically, financially, and futuristic.

On October 3, 2021, Eric Steinley was surfing on a beautiful sunny fall day in Salmon Creek – north of Bodega Bay – when he was attacked by a great white shark. He made his way to the beach on his own, where many helpful hands stabilized him and loaded him into a helicopter for a quick ride to the Santa Rosa emergency room.

Getting attacked by a shark is traumatic, emotionally, physically, financially, and futuristic.

Surfers north of the Golden Gate spend more than half the year suffering from fog, offshore winds, flat spells, swells, rain, snow, sleet and all kinds of weather. ook, fearing for those clean and cool westerly swell days off the west coast. the fall.

And then you get attacked by a shark. A year of convalescence, work stoppages, a lack of money, a lack of effort, a lack of adrenaline.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om_FCEAQFOA

We asked Eric how it was.

How do you feel?

Feeling pretty good, I keep pushing myself with physiotherapy and exercising until I can’t anymore, then I have to rest again for a few days and the process starts all over again.

Become crazy ?

Getting a little crazy but not too bad. I watched pretty much everything on Netflix and came back to drawing, which I did years ago.

Design? A surfboard collector in Malibu wanted to add a shark-eaten board to his quiver. I arranged for him to buy the board from Megan Halavez, who was bitten in Salmon Creek in October 2005. To illustrate the board, he ordered this illustration of what the attack looked like. Hope this is not what you draw.

Well, I made this drawing and made a t-shirt out of it.

Are you feeling good about a full recovery? What are the doctors saying? How often do you do physiotherapy?

I go to the hospital for physiotherapy once a week with the therapist, then four more days a week at the gym / pool as well as balance and stretching exercises every day. Basically if I don’t stretch my right leg every day, it will just stay slightly bent because of the scar tissue. I also have to do range of motion exercises for my foot as I can only move it down and the same would happen.

When it comes to balance, I don’t have a full feeling in my leg or foot, so I have to learn to use different muscles to compensate so that I can do normal activities. Full recovery is unclear at this time. I was told to wait a year to see how well the nerve will heal and then we can go from there.

Cute nurses?

Certainly.

Did the nerve pain decrease?

Yes it is. I am taking drugs which reduce the feeling of nerve pain, but anyway it has improved a lot.

Still no dreams of post-traumatic distress for sharks? Weird dreams?

No, I even visited the crime scene for the first time last weekend. I have to see a bunch of my buddies and watch the surf a bit. I thought I might have some kind of flashback or something, but I didn’t.

Lots of attack victims talk about it and they don’t like it.

If I had been physically capable, I would have paddled the giant liquidation walls.

Is your Barcelona / Basque girl always by your side? Say thank you on behalf of everyone in the surf. It’s a good egg.

The girlfriend is still holding on. It certainly hasn’t been easy for the relationship, but I hope we’re going through the worst.

Do you know how much it all cost?

I see that the invoices keep coming in and I forward them to my supplier. As to the total, I’m not sure yet. I know I will be doing physiotherapy and will have to take medication for a long time and who knows the expense in the long run. I also know that my medical insurance expires in February and that I will start paying out of pocket until I can return to work and my hours fill my “benefit bank”.

We had a NorCal class winter storm in Malibu the other day and it made me homesick for the wild, woolly winters in Santa Cruz. I tell people about your attack and say, aside from the horror of almost dying and / or losing a limb, and the time in the hospital, and the ruin of your surfboard and your wetsuit and medical bills and downtime, at NorCal you spend half the year yearning for fall so you can surf in the clean westerly swells and offshore winds under blue skies – and you you get attacked by a mad shark.

How do you deal with this? Do you have a grudge against the stupid mad shark?

Absolutely not. I was fortunate enough to be able to paddle without getting bitten again and had a great group of guys saving my ass by putting a tourniquet on my leg and carrying me a pretty decent distance across. sand and up a huge staircase to the parking lot. On top of that, the helicopter was on site about 15 minutes after I got to the beach. I’ll count my blessings on this one.

I saw your GoFundMe hit $ 44,350. As Spicoli would say: “Fair dollars! »Have you ever been able to recover the GoFundMe? This should help relieve the stress a bit.

I was finally able to get the GoFundMe funds, it helped me a lot. I had no idea all the things I would need it for and the stress it would help relieve. The only orthosis that I need to be able to walk costs $ 1,000. Then there are medical bills, anything my insurance doesn’t cover, unemployment, etc. It seems like my health care provider’s main goal (which has been amazing) is to get me to walk around and get back to work. I completely appreciate it, but from someone who basically lives to surf, it doesn’t go any further. This is where outpatient sports therapy comes in and hopefully to get a custom foot orthosis designed specifically for surfing. This will all be covered by the GoFundMe so that I don’t end up hating life and losing something that I love.

So what is the prognosis in the short and long term? Surf again when?

I plan to try longboarding in February. I wear a splint that keeps my foot at a 90 degree angle and I also don’t have full feel in the foot. I tried a grandpa type pop-up at home and it’s pretty funny. We’ll see how it goes.


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