New Mexico Teen in Critical Condition After Lightning Strike at Football Practice

PHOTO: Clouds are seen over Picacho Middle School in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Aug. 19, 2014, after a group of players and a coach were hospitalized due to a lightning strike.
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A New Mexico middle-school student is in critical condition and three others were injured after a lightning strike.

The lightning strike happened Tuesday at Picacho Middle School in Las Cruces in the southern part of the state. The school’s eighth-grade football team was practicing after school ended when it became overcast and started to drizzle, said Jo Galvan, director of communications for Las Cruces Public Schools.

The group started walking toward the school when lightning struck a nearby tree, sending several students and coaches falling to the ground, likely the lightning grounding itself, Galvan said.

One of the uninjured football players, Emiliano Frano, saw a “flash” from the lightning strike.

“Not even a couple seconds later, I smelled burning plastic. It was gross. I’ve never smelled anything like that,” Frano told ABC affiliate KVIA-TV.

PHOTO: A group of football players and a coach were hospitalized after a lightning strike at Picacho Middle School in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Aug. 19, 2014.
KVIA Video Still
PHOTO: A group of football players and a coach were hospitalized after a lightning strike at Picacho Middle School in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Aug. 19, 2014.

Three 13-year-old boys and one coach were injured, Galvan said, with a parent and a coach performing CPR on the critically injured boy. That CPR kept the boy alive, music teacher Emmanuel Hernandez said.

“One of the parents, he’s the one that did the CPR on the kid, he was the first one on the scene, and if it wasn’t for him, it would be a different story, I believe,” Hernandez told KVIA.

Kelly Duke, marketing director of Mountain View Regional Medical Center, confirmed to ABC News that the players and coach were taken to the hospital, with the critically injured boy later transferred to University Medical Center, listed in critical but stable condition.

The other two students were listed in stable condition, Duke said. The coach’s injuries aren’t life-threatening.

Counselors and district school physiologists will be at the school today to speak with students, Galvan said.

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