‘Pick on someone your own size’: 7-year-old snake bite victim walks again

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — Just weeks ago, a venomous snake bit Elijah Bustamante, a 7-year-old Clay County boy, in his mom’s backyard.

It left him wheelchair-bound for weeks, but now he’s walking again,


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Action News Jax spoke with Elijah and his mom, Sanita Bustamante.

She says she knew he’d walk again because of the type of kid Elijah is, but she didn’t know he would be walking before the Fourth of July.

Bustamante is now walking in his neighborhood, running in the yard and even scoring soccer goals.

The snake was hiding under some bushes that his mom has since removed.

“The snake was right here swirled up. I went right here and picked the rock up. It jumped up and bit my knee,” said Elijah Bustamante.

Elijah was rushed to the hospital.

He couldn’t walk for weeks and used a wheelchair to get around, something his mom says was difficult to watch.

“It’s heartbreaking. It’s like your hands are tied, you have to keep your faith and stay strong,” said Sanita Bustamante.

Elijah’s mom believes that snake came from a wooded area right behind their house, slithering right under their fence into their backyard.

Read: Seven-year-old boy survives venomous snake bite in Green Cove Springs

“It was mainly a mental thing,” said Sanita Bustamante.

Since then, Elijah has undergone weekly physical therapy to learn to walk again.

His mom says at first it was tough for Elijah.

“It was exhausting. It was overwhelming for him, almost to the point where he stopped eating and drinking,” said Sanita Bustamante.

Elijah tells Action News Jax once he got the hang of physical therapy, it was a breeze.

“We get to work out and play basketball,” said Elijah.

On June 27, Elijah walked for the first time since the bite, and now he has a message for that snake.

“Pick on someone your own size,” he said.

Elijah’s mom said he still can’t walk for long periods of time. After about an hour, his leg becomes weak.

She says doctors can’t say yet how long this will last.

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