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Colorado lightning strike survivor shares his story one year after incident

Posted at 2:56 PM, Jul 13, 2019

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — A young man who survived a lightning strike was back at the hospital where he was treated, sharing his story in hopes of helping save lives.

Isaiah Cormier, along with the doctor who treated him, spoke to a group gathered to learn how to avoid being struck in the first place.

It was almost exactly a year ago that Cormier was struck by lightning in Boulder County.

"It struck me right here in the neck and exited out my foot which was numb and was immobile for a while, which is how they knew where the exit was," he said.

The 19-year-old was at a campground near Nederland, when a bolt of lightning knocked him out; he remembers very little.

A few hours after the hit, a ferning pattern appeared on his chest.

"I wasn’t as in much pain as you would expect, but all of my muscles were so stiff," he said.

Comier’s then-girlfriend saved his life by doing CPR.

He was taken to the UCHealth Burn Center, where he spoke Friday, part of a lecture addressing lightning injuries.

"I would not be here today if my girlfriend at the time had not had CPR certification, and thankfully it was fresh on her mind so even if people have gotten certified before, it doesn’t hurt to get a refresher course," Cormier said.

The doctor who treated Cormier also spoke saying most lightning strike patients survive.

"There are two big things that happen in a lightning strike: they can have significant neurological injuries. The other thing that can happen is their heart can stop," said Anne Wagner, the UCHealth Burn Center medical director.

According to the  National Weather Service, since 1980 lightning has killed 3 people and injured a dozen others annually in Colorado.