A North Texas family’s vacation took a horrific turn when lightning hit a 14-year-old.
Jacob Brewer is hospitalized in Tampa Bay, Florida, where doctors tell his parents the lightning current traveled from his chest down to his foot.
It happened as a fast-moving storm blew onto the beach in Siesta Key where the Brewer family of Fort Worth was vacationing last Thursday.
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The Brewers say they were packing up to leave when they heard the strike and saw a flash of light.
“I was down on the ground. I don’t even know how I got down there. My ear was ringing so loud,” said Barbara Brewer.
When Brewer looked over at her son, Jacob’s shirt had a hole where the lightning struck him and he was foaming at the mouth.
She said an off-duty law enforcement officer who was nearby immediately began administering CPR.
Another bystander and an on-duty sheriff’s deputy stepped in to help as rain poured and the lightning storm continued around them.
“Regardless of the danger, regardless of the coronavirus, they saved Jacob. It was incredible,” said Brewer.
Jacob didn’t have a pulse for more than 45 minutes, Brewer said. Doctors told the family CPR saved their son's life. While his brain activity and other critical organs are functioning, Jacob did have to undergo surgery Tuesday to improve his circulation because the lightning shrunk his veins in his body.
“He suffered tremendously,” said Brewer.
But Jacob is showing signs of progress. His sister, Ashley, said she was allowed to visit him for a short time this week and Jacob responded to her questions with a thumbs up.
“I got to see him and I was like, 'hey dude, I guess we should have stayed home and played video games.' He was nodding his head,” said Ashley.
It’s unclear how long Jacob, a rising 9th grader at Timber Creek High School, will be hospitalized. He remains in serious condition. His family says they have faith he will pull through.
“Luckily, he had aqua socks on. It prevented the lightning from grounding and it exited out his toe,” explained Barbara Brewer.
The Brewers are staying in hotels in Florida to be near their son. Another family member started a Go Fund Me page to help cover their costs.
“Out of everything that’s going on in the world right now, people are sharing Jacob’s story and it’s incredible,” said Brewer.
“The prayers and support are just amazing,” she added.