LAS CRUCES (KTSM) — A 13-year-old Las Cruces boy will be transferred to a burn center following a lightning strike during 8th grade football practice at Picacho Middle School, according to police.
The player was one of six injured during the freak incident Tuesday afternoon. Four other 13-year-old boys and an assistant coach were treated for injuries, investigators said. Two of the young men remain hospitalized in Las Cruces.
The practice was coming to a close, according to a Las Cruces Public Schools official, when light rain began to fall around 5 p.m.
“(The coaches) saw no lightning,” said LCPS Spokesperson Jo Galvan. “It started to sprinkle and they started to bring everybody in. (The lightning strike) just took them by surprise.”
Picacho 8th grader Emiliano Franco, a member of the football team, said he was heading inside when he heard the loud crack.
“I’ve never heard anything like that,” he said. “My ears, they kind of plugged up.”
Franco said he turned around and saw one of his teammates, a close friend of his, on the ground.
“Everyone started panicking, so we ran into the gym and everyone was crying,” Franco told NewsChannel 9.
He said the boy critically injured is the son of a Picacho teacher.
An assistant coach performed CPR on the player with the assistance of the injured coach, according to LCPS. A Picacho teacher told NewsChannel 9 the boy had no pulse when he was loaded into the ambulance.
The teen was flown to University Medical Center in El Paso ahead of his transfer to an area burn center.
Galvan said grief counselors and psychologists would be on hand at the middle school Wednesday for any students wishing to speak with them.