Shark Attack Survivor: Jonathan Kathrein, 31, Mill Valley, California

Shark Attack Survivor: Jonathan Kathrein, 31, Mill Valley, California

Jonathan KathreinA great white shark bit into Jonathan Kathrein's leg and dragged him underwater while he was bodyboarding in 1998 along the Northern California coast. When he grabbed the shark's gills, the animal let go, and Kathrein swam for shore. The major muscles in his leg were severed, requiring more than 600 stitches. After years of physical therapy, Kathrein made a full recovery.

The experience played a pivotal role in his career as co-founder of Future Leaders for Peace, a nonprofit organization that has taught thousands of young people about life skills, leadership, and how to reach goals. Kathrein uses his recovery as a motivational tale and analogy for dealing with the complex world around us. He is the author of three books, including, with Margaret Kathrein, Surviving the Shark: How a Brutal Great White Attack Turned a Surfer Into a Dedicated Defender of Sharks (2012).

Today, Kathrein is a political consultant in Northern California with a focus on clean energy, coastal issues, and community environmental projects. As an advocate for sharks, he believes they are an important part of our ecosystem, not the malicious savages they are sometimes portrayed as in movies. Kathrein, a father of two, summarizes his experience through an exchange he had with his two-year-old daughter. “Daddy, why'd the shark bite you?” she asked, giving him a confused look. His response: “It was an accident. We all make mistakes.”

Click to learn more about other shark attack survivors.

National Homeownership Month

Article

37 Researchers Working to Transform Biomedical Science

Quick View
Article

Biomedical researchers are on the front lines of scientific innovation. From responding to global pandemics to pioneering lifesaving cancer treatments, these researchers push past scientific boundaries to solve pressing health challenges. For nearly 40 years, The Pew Charitable Trusts has supported more than 1,000 early-career biomedical scientists committed to this discovery.

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.