On Monday Oct. 21, local 14-year-old Grossmont student and football player, Dennis Tuatagaloa, was struck by lightning at the football field before leaving to go home, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. A lightning bolt so strong that it not only disoriented him but confused his senses struck him and, “it was one of the worst pains in my life,” he said ,”I was just smelling all different types of smells.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that,”More than 1,500 flashes of lightning lit the skies of San Diego County on Monday [Oct. 21]. Another 2,580 strikes touched the ground, briefly triggering some beach closures,” The stormy weather continued to rage throughout the week leaving areas such as Big Bear and Riverside to receive an average of 1 inch of rain.
This storm was to result in, “flash flooding,” as well as thousands of bolts of lightning causing officials to warn locals to, “‘turn around, don’t drown’ in the event of rising waters, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Tuatagaloa told ABC10 in an interview from his hospital bed after having been rushed to the ER, “I just felt this wave of electricity hit my body and it knocked me down to my knees.” In regard to the internal experience, as a result of the shock of the electric currents, Tuatagaloa recalled, “It went from my head to my toes. Every muscle in my body was cramping up.”
“He’s 6 feet tall and 250 pounds but he was powerless against that force of nature,” published ABC10. Tuatagaloa compared it to, “Just somebody tackling you down to the ground and basically hugging you there. I don’t know, it was one of the worst pains in my life,” he said.
USA Today reported, “Tuatagaloa spoke with the station from the emergency room and said he was able to hear teammates talking to him, but he was only able to stutter in response.”
After being taken to the hospital and, after tests, he said that he was feeling some tingling in his legs but added, “Most people usually don’t make it from lightning hits so I’m just lucky.”
Fortunately, no fatal damage was inflicted and Tuatagaloa was discharged from the hospital and can now safely continue his life.