Lightning strikes football player

Angela and Colby Ambrose
Angela and Colby Ambrose
Lightning bolt damaged track
Lightning bolt damaged track

By Christy Hutchings - bio | email

EVANS COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - A teen is in critical condition after being struck by lightning Wednesday afternoon.

It happened around 4pm Wednesday during football practice at Pinewood Christian Academy in Bellville, Georgia.

Dozens of kids and coaches were on the football field when a lightning bolt came out of nowhere, hitting one of the players.

Friends of the family tell us the teen, 14-year-old William Dalton Raulerson, is at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah. His family is by his side, along with friends, coaches and school administrators. The exact extent of the his injuries are still unclear.

Student Colby Ambrose was there when the lightning hit Raulerson and still can't believe it happened.

"We'd just gone done stretching and we were going to the practice field and we were crossing the track and all of a sudden you hear this big boom. Everybody was screaming and running trying to get to the field house. We didn't know what was happening," said Cody.

The bolt was so intense, it destroyed a piece of the track.

Volunteer firefighter Robert Jernigan says when the bolt hit, it took a second for everyone to realize what had happened.

"One of the coaches said when he got his vision back, there was a big cloud of dust. He looked back and saw the kids scattering and there was one that didn't move," said Jernigan.

Coaches immediately started CPR on the teen, using a defibrillator until the ambulance arrived.

While coaches and first responders were working on Raulerson, the other players were calling their parents.

"I was scared to death," said Angela Ambrose, Cody Ambrose's mother. "He called, it was right at 4:30pm and said, 'Mom you need to come get me, lightning struck Dalton.'"

Ambrose says it wasn't until she talked to her son that she realized the extent of what happened.

"He said, 'Mom I was right next to Dalton and I saw it and he's hurt,'" said Ambrose.

All the players were pretty shook up. A number of them were knocked down to the ground when the lightning hit. They were checked out by doctors and are going to be fine.

All the families we spoke with said they're just praying for Raulerson and his family and hope he's going to pull through this horrible ordeal.

In addition, parents tell WTOC the coaching staff did an amazing job. They jumped right into action, starting CPR and getting the defibrillator going.

When some of the volunteers arrived, they said the coaches had it under control and merely assisted them.

The school's headmaster Jon Dorminey adds that the coaches also had their lightning detector out on the field. The detector shows lightning 60 miles away and nothing was popping up on their radar.

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