U. North Florida pitcher attacked by shark

By Tim Bee

A U. North Florida baseball player is recovering after being attacked by what is believed to be a shark while surfing Friday at Jacksonville Beach.

Osprey pitcher Clayton Schulz is currently in recovery at Shands Jacksonville hospital. He was in surgery for around five hours to repair cut tendons in his left foot. Schulz received over 400 stitches for his wounds.

Schulz and his family are staying positive. Schulz says he is feeling better with everyday that passes and feels lucky that it did not end up being as bad as it could have been.

“It did some damage,” said Schulz. “It’s going to take a little time but today is the best I have felt yet. I got up and walked on crutches today a little. So as soon as I can get going and start this rehab and start getting back I’m ready to go.”

Schulz, who has been surfing for a long time, said it all happened within a matter of seconds and never got a good look at the animal that attacked him. However according to Schulz, the doctors who performed his surgery, along with other people who have seen the wound, feel very strongly that it in fact was a shark that attacked him.

“I felt something grab my foot,” said Schulz. “All I really could feel was teeth. He shook his head a little bit and then I think it realized that I wasn’t really what he was looking for and luckily he let me go.”

Once the shark let go, Schulz paddled back to shore with the help of another surfer. While paddling in, he glanced back at his foot to realize that he had a pretty severe wound.

Once on shore, Schulz was met by lifeguards and his girlfriend, Megan Hudack, who was shocked and worried about what she saw when he came out of the water.

“I saw him ride a wave in on his stomach with his foot in the air,” said Hudack. “He just seemed really calm so I didn’t think anything was wrong. I saw a bunch of lifeguards running towards him so I ran up and I saw his foot and it was apparent that something powerful had got him.”

While lifeguards were working on Schulz’s foot, Hudack did the first thing she could think of and called his parents, who immediately got in the car and drove to Jacksonville from Jupiter, Fla.

“Obviously you know when you hear about a shark bite your immediate reaction is Jaws,” said Clayton’s dad Peter Schulz. “But we were pretty calm about it. You always wonder about it when there is big fish around, it’s a possibility.”

Schulz, who is a red-shirt sophomore pitcher for the Ospreys, came out of the bullpen for most of the 2010 season. He struck out 15 batters in the 30.2 innings he pitched throughout the 17 games in which he appeared in for the Ospreys while winning his only start of the season.

Schulz plans to start his rehab a soon as the doctors allow him and plans to be ready by the start of the 2011 baseball season.

“As soon as I can get going I’ll be working as hard as I can to get back,” said Schulz. “I’m excited to get back. I don’t see any problems why I shouldn’t be ready for baseball season. They said four weeks until I can start physical therapy and putting pressure on it so I’m hoping that I can just start going and go with it.”

Despite getting attacked, Schulz says that this will not keep him out of the water and while he admits that it might take some time, he does plan to surf again.

“I’m sure I’ll be back out,” said Schulz. “My neck will probably be turning a little bit looking around and stuff but I’m sure I’ll be back out there as soon as I can.”

Read more here: http://www.unfspinnaker.com/sports/2010/07/26/ospreys-pitcher-attacked-by-shark/
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