I’m a big baseball fan (sorry Reds and Cardinal fans, I bleed Cubbie blue), and I came across this fascinating writeup from MLB.com: Pitcher struck by lightning, unconscious, stayed in. As soon as I saw the headline, I had to read it! MLB player Ray Caldwell was pitching for the Cleveland Indians in 1919. He only gave up one run all game and was on the mound with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. As the players tried to finish the game, a thunderstorm moved into the area. Unfortunately, lightning struck. There are a few theories as to how Caldwell was hit, but nonetheless, he was knocked out. Unbelievably, after five minutes, he regained consciousness and while most would definitely call it a day, Caldwell decided to finish the game! Tough is an understatement.
Ray survived and didn’t have any lasting effects, but he was LUCKY! No one should take lightning lightly. Lightning strikes have a low probability, but they can and do happen. In the United States alone, 17 people were killed by lightning last year. No deaths have been reported in 2021, but we are now in the summer season, the most active time of the year for lightning AND the most active time of the year to be outside. While most lightning strikes don’t result in death, many victims are left with some sort of disability, according to https://www.weather.gov/safety/lightning-odds.
Bottom line: take action when lightning and thunder are in the area! When you hear thunder, quickly get to a fully enclosed building (most barns don’t count) or hard-topped vehicle (with the windows rolled up). Stay away from taller objects. The National Weather Service graphic below provides simple guidelines. Remember, if you hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger! As the National Weather Service slogan goes, “When thunder roars, go indoors.”