Kickboxer talks losing leg in horror shark attack: ‘I died a total of six times’

In a remarkable display of resilience and determination, Queensland kickboxer Glenn Dickson is set to etch his name in Australian sporting history. Despite facing death six times and enduring the loss of a limb in a brutal shark attack, Dickson refuses to let adversity dictate his future.

Alongside fellow amputee Buck Cooper, he will step into the cage on June 1 in Cairns. This will mark the first-ever instance in Australian sports where two amputee contenders will square off.

In February 2017, Glenn Dickson went on a spearfishing expedition with three companions. They went to Hinchinbrook Island, situated off the coast of Queensland’s far north.

The fishermen were unfamiliar with the area, and the water was dark and filthy. The events that followed permanently altered Dickson’s life.

He told News Corp: “I jumped in the water, saw this fish and hit it with the spear but it wasn’t what is known as a ‘kill shot’ instead it was just a bit further back from that. So the fish was still flapping around and I was thinking I have to get to the surface quickly.”

“So I started swimming up and pulling the fish towards me with the rope attached to the spear. I got the fish and grabbed my knife out of my anklet and just as I hit the fish with the knife, that was when I felt like I just got hit by a bus.”

In the murky waters, a routine spearfishing attempt attracted the attention of a 3.5m bull shark and pulled Dickson into a life-threatening ordeal. This temperamental species is said to be more violent and deadly than a great white shark.

He said: “It felt like I had been chucked into a washing machine and everything was going so slow at the same time. I realised I was getting attacked by a shark and getting thrown around like a rag doll.”

“The shark let go because it had to regurgitate my leg because it couldn’t get through my bone. I went into survival mode and started swimming again and started going to the rocks.”

“Subconsciously my body knew a lot more than I thought about with all the surroundings. My body immediately started swimming towards the rock and in that moment I was like ‘I have been hit really bad here’.”

The initial encounter with the shark left Dickson grappling with unimaginable pain and chaos. Despite the odds stacked against him, he summoned an extraordinary display of courage and resourcefulness. However, the shark’s ferocity knew no bounds as it launched subsequent attacks, inflicting severe injuries.

The water was now filled with his own blood and sludge, and Dickson had no clue how seriously he was hurt.

He continued: “Just as I was checking it out, the shark came in and was right up next to me, within about an arm’s distance away. ‘We caught eyes with each other, it was looking at me trying to suss out what it had just attacked and I was looking at it thinking ‘I know what the f**k you are’ and screamed.”

“As I screamed, he spun around and whacked me with his tail, which I was thankful for because I thought he was just going to take my head off. I just started swimming again and headed for the rock, I actually got a hold of the rock and I got pulled back under again off the same leg.”

“It took my calf completely off from the same leg but I managed to pull myself onto the rock and started climbing up these rocks to get out of the water.”

Dickson was bleeding out and could only manage a weak murmur as he attempted to cry for assistance. His friends stated it didn’t sound like a guy yelling for help to save his life, but more like a seagull.

The worst was yet to come when they pulled him back aboard the boat. Dickson went into a cardiac arrest.

He said: “That was when I died for the first time, they told me I died a total of six times, four in the boat and twice in the helicopter. But that was the only one I have a real recollection of, I was slowly getting really cold.”

Despite facing near-death experiences and enduring excruciating injuries, Glenn Dickson’s spirit remained unbroken.

He continued: “I remember my body just sort of fitted out and I just straightened out flat, eyes rolled to the back of my head. The white light was so comforting and made me want to have this deep sleep.”

“But that was when my daughter came over and said to me ‘come home dad’. That was when my brain kicked back in and we fought to get home and I knew I had to get home for my little girl.”

Fueled by an unyielding determination to reclaim his passion for kickboxing, Dickson started his remarkable comeback journey. This has now culminated in a historic showdown with Buck Cooper.