Lightning survivor marks recovery with a permanent reminder

John Moberg and his daughter Ashley Moberg have made a full recovery months after being struck by lightning earlier this year.
The father and daughter were attending an MLB spring training game between the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves in Tampa when the unthinkable happened.
With the sixth inning underway, the game was called off due to thunderstorms in the area, which was under strict thunderstorm watch. Lightning was approaching the area of ​​Tampa's George M. Steinbrenner Field, home of the Yankees for spring training where the game was being played in early April.
The two couldn't find their car when the storm hit and ran under a tree. John was trying to set off the car alarm with the key to find him when lightning struck the two.
"I was bending over to adjust my shoe, then a flash and a pop and we were flying through the air," Ashley recalled in an interview with AccuWeather national reporter Emmy Victor.
John was knocked unconscious by the blow and suffered a fractured cheekbone. "I was unconscious for a moment," explained John Victor. "When I woke up I was totally paralyzed and my face was in the mud." Then he noticed that his daughter was lying on the ground a few meters away.
Ashley suffered a burn to her neck caused by the necklace she was wearing after it became hot from the lightning strike.
The father and daughter spent two days in the hospital before being released. Ashley noted they were scanned to ensure the paralysis was temporary and they were checked for fractures. The Yankees reached out while the family was still in the hospital and gave them an autographed Aaron Judge baseball and free tickets to a Yankees regular-season game.
After leaving the hospital, the two returned home to their home in a western Chicago suburb, where they continued to recover.
"That's probably the only thing left," John said, noting that the vulnerability of the situation struck him with hindsight.
That, and they feel lucky to be alive.
Ashley even got a tattoo for her birthday to commemorate the incident - a flash of lightning over the scar on her neck caused by the blow.
"I wanted something - even if the scar was fading - that would remind me of it permanently," Ashley said.
John and Ashley recently attended their first Yankees game since injuring themselves at spring training in April.
Four months later, the two have fully recovered from the incident, but they continue to warn others not to make the same mistake they made.
"You never think anything's going to happen to you," John said, adding the importance of heeding weather warnings.
Lightning is a lot more common at baseball games than you might think. According to a magazine article published in Weather, Climate, and Society in March of this year, author Chris Vagasky, lightning data and safety specialist at the National Lightning Safety Council, analyzed lightning strikes at baseball games from 2016 to 2019 and found that 717 games were found to have lightning in one 8 miles from the stadium.
Vagasky, who also works for Finland-based lightning research firm Vaisala, found that one in 14 Major League Baseball games experience lightning that is within a distance that lightning protection experts would consider unsafe.
However, these stats shouldn't stop people from enjoying a baseball game or outdoor event. Mary Ann Cooper, MD, medical and lightning safety specialist with the National Lightning Safety Council, said whether you're at a baseball game, a kids' soccer game, or just spending time outdoors, you should always have a safety plan and be aware of the weather.
"Lightning is going to be very difficult to dodge once it comes out of the sky because it comes out of the sky at about 200,000 miles per hour," Vagasky said in an interview with AccuWeather.
In the most recent lightning-related deaths this season, three people were struck and killed by lightning last week while under a tree across the street from the White House. After the incident, John Jensenius, lightning protection specialist with the National Lightning Safety Council, emphasized the importance of finding safe shelter during a thunderstorm.
It is best to be inside a building or a fully enclosed metal-roofed vehicle, he noted, adding that the tragedy underscores the danger of taking shelter under a tree. "Lightning tends to hit the tallest object in the immediate area, which is often a tree," Jensenius said.
Reporting by Emmy Victor.
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Aaron Richter

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