Doctors say lightning likely did strike Newnan man - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Doctors say lightning likely did strike Newnan man

Sean O'Connor Sean O'Connor
Shoe Sean was wearing when he was struck Shoe Sean was wearing when he was struck

Sean O'Connor is getting a lot of attention because he survived being hit by lightning this weekend outside his Newnan home.

O'Connor's also getting attention because he had the presence of mind to record the immediate aftermath. Many on social media and around water coolers doubt his story.

The last 48 hours have been a surreal whirlwind for O'Connor, as word spread he survived a lightning strike.

The 30-year-old father of three was home alone, working in his yard Saturday when the jolt blew him right out of his boots, knocking him unconscious.

Some people think O'Connor made up the story about getting hit by lightning, especially since he shot cell phone video shortly after he came to. He said he sent the video to his wife at work because she thought he was joking.

In the cell phone video you can see and hear he is still in a daze, as he shows his still-smoking boot; his bloody, bitten tongue; and his mangled glasses.

"I've told my wife, 'that doesn't even sound like me'," O'Connor said. "You know, I'm speaking slower. My voice sounds a little bit slower. I almost sound a little bit sleepy."

ER doctors say it's likely lightning did strike O'Connor. They kept him overnight Saturday to monitor his erratic heartbeat.

"A lot of people actually go into cardiac arrest. Their heart stops," explained Dr. Eugene Harris, an ER doctor at Piedmont Newnan Hospital where O'Connor was treated. "Or they stop breathing, a paralysis of the diaphragm that can happen when you're struck by lightning. So it's definitely fortunate he came in."

That his survival has made news across the country surprises O'Connor.

"Different people are saying: 'Man lucky to be alive,' 'Man struck by lightning lives to tell the story.' And initially when I first got hit, it was no different than falling down the stairs and brushing yourself off," he said.

But O'Connor said the significance of it all is starting to sink in.

"I do have to say everybody's been asking me about buying a lottery ticket. I've said I wasn't going to do it," he said.

O'Connor smiled and said he gave in and bought just one.

Statistics show most people survive lightning strikes but they end up with long-term injuries.

O'Connor said right now he has back pain, muscle spasms, short-term memory lapses and stops talking mid-sentence.

Lightning struck 261 people nationwide from 2006 to 2013.

Almost two-thirds of people killed by lightning were enjoying leisure activities at the time like golf, fishing and yard work.

Men account for most of the deaths. In the last 10 years, Georgia has ranked as the no. 4 state for lightning strikes, with 16.

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