An Oldsmar firefighter is used to facing unusual circumstances, but realizing his head was in the jaws of an alligator no doubt tops the list.
While JC Defeats was swimming in a lake a few weeks ago, he came face to face with a large alligator — literally.
“I felt the equivalent of a telephone pole hit my face and then because of my stroke I felt the scales then I felt the teeth, so I knew what i was in,” he told WFLA.
He guesses he was inside the 12-foot gator’s mouth for several seconds. The force of the gator’s mouth crushed part of his skull. “It was just one large bite. I heard my jaw snap and I just continued swimming.”
He managed to swim to a dock, and was picked up by a passing motorist. He talked to the 9-1-1 dispatcher on the way to the hospital, He told reporters he didn’t want the driver distracted any more, adding that they already had a bloodied man in their car.
He underwent a six-hour surgery during which doctors removed part of his right temporal lobe.
“The story is about a miracle and also a call to action,” he said. “Find the joy, however that looks like to you, that’s my challenge to you find it.”
Defeats served in the U.S. Air Force for six years.