Usually when something rather traumatic happens to us, we become reluctant to face any similar situations again.

For example, if you had gotten your leg bitten off by a shark, you'd probably be a bit apprehensive about heading back into the deep blue sea.

This isn't so for surfer Mike Coots, who had his leg bitten off by a surfer shark.

Back in 1997, aged 18, Mike went body boarding with some friends in Major's Bay on Kauai in the North Pacific near Hawaii, where a Tiger Shark used him as a chew toy and made off with his right leg.

Credit: Media Drum

"It swung me back and forth like a dog would do with a toy, and after it stopped I punched it," he said. "I looked back behind me at my leg, and it was completely gone, just squirting blood out of the missing limb. Luckily a small wave came, I caught it to the shore and friends dragged me up the sand and made a tourniquet."

After being released from hospital a week later, starting a new chapter as an amputee, Mike was keen not to let the incident phase him. He got back into the water as soon as he could. The pictures showing him reconciling his differences with the very beasts that stole his leg are amazing.

Credit: Media Drum

He's not bitter towards sharks, though, as he's now a big advocate for shark conservation and says we need to save them while we still can.

"Since the attack, my eyes have been opened to the horrendous decline in shark populations due to overfishing, shark finning, as well as the negative impact that media such as films like Jaws have had on them," he said. "I hope that in time I can continue to help make people more aware of the devastation of our impacts to sharks along with debunking the fear that comes along with them. Sharks are a vital species for the health of our oceans.

"If I can turn something that could be a negative and change it for a positive, then why not? A shark took my leg, and stole my heart." Take a look at him swimming with them here.

Credit: Media Drum

It's certainly very brave of him to still be in the water despite losing his leg there all those years ago, but whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and all that bollocks.

In fairness, I don't think Jaws would have won all those Academy Awards, Oscars, Grammys, BAFTAs and Golden Globes had it ended with Roy Scheider giving the shark a stroke.

Featured Image Credit: Media Drum

Mark McGowan

"Mark McGowan has never made a bad batch of scrambled eggs." - Mark McGowan, 28/09/13

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