Man bitten by shark on the mend but has long road to recovery ahead

“I've swam all my life out there and for one of them to actually get on me, just kind of blew my mind,” says Blaine Shelton from his hospital bed at UTMB Galveston.

The 42-year-old man from Alvin says he has been swimming and sailing in Crystal Beach since he was 14. On Thursday, a morning swim took a terrifying turn when he says he saw a shark’s tail within arm’s reach then felt a bump.

"As soon as I felt the bump, I knew I was in trouble,” recalls Shelton. He believes he was attacked by a bull shark.

Shelton describes that he was alone and so far from the shore; he could only see the tops of the beach houses. Fearing the shark was still on to him, he swam as fast as he could.

“My chest is sore from paddling so hard," adds Shelton. "My abs are sore. My legs are sore — I just kind of feel like I got beat up.”

Shelton says luckily most of the damage is to the muscle, but he still faces a long road to recovery. He has to stay in the hospital for a few more days to be monitored for an infection. Then, he won’t be able to work for least six weeks.

“They say I'm going to have to go through physical therapy and the whole nine yards,” Shelton tells FOX 26 News. He says that is something that worries him as an independent contractor who takes care of his elderly parents.

“Everybody has been real helpful and keeping me cheered up," explains Shelton. "I know the reality of it is going to start setting in when the finances are going to go crazy. And, hopefully everything heals up well, but we'll just have to see how it goes.”

Shelton and his friends have started a fundraiser on Facebook to help cover his medical expenses. He says he's thankful to everyone who has chipped in.