HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – There are 16 alligator attacks, including some fatalities, that are now under investigation by Florida Fish and Wildlife.

On Aug. 3, JC Defeats was swimming in Lake Thonotosassa while shooting an instructional video for his company, Defeat X, when a gator began approaching head on.

“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 said.

JC Defeats was inside a 12-foot gator’s mouth for several seconds. The force of the gator’s mouth crushed part of his skull and broke his jaw.

“It was just one large bite,” he said. “I heard my jaw snap and I just continued swimming.”

By some miracle, the gator released JC Defeats. He swam to a nearby dock.

He spent 10 days in the hospital after undergoing a six-hour surgery. He has multiple bone fractures in his jaw, underwent a craniectomy and 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.”

The gator attack is not stopping JC Defeats in his mission to serve the community. He served in the U.S. Air Force for six years, the Oldsmar fire department for the past four years, and now he has a call to action to the community.

“He’s always thinking of others even though the unthinkable was happening to him,” said Christine La Verde, his wife.

Christine has by his side through this journey.

JC Defeats is expected to undergo more surgeries as he continues his journey to recovery.