When players launch the popular Pokemon Go app on their smartphones, they are met with a message reading "Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings," and that’s a message Lane Smith said he’ll be paying a little closer attention to now.
The 18 year-old Marcus High School senior was playing the game while walking down a wooded Flower Mound path near the Parker Square development at dusk on Tuesday.
"I was on my phone because I was seeing if anything would pop up along the way," said Smith as he and a friend were making their way to a nearby park to visit a Poke-stop, a landmark in the game where players can get supplies.
As Smith walked looking at his screen, his friend yelled to watch where he was going.
"I saw a stick in my peripheral," said Smith. "And I thought it was just a stick so I stepped on it and the stick bit me."
The stick turned out to be a small snake, doctors believe a copperhead, that bit Smith’s foot.
"One of its fangs punctured my foot, the other just skidded the side of my toe,” said Smith.
The teen, thinking it wasn’t very severe right away, texted his friends to tell them what happened, but when his foot and leg began ballooning up and his leg muscles started tensing uncontrollably, Smith went home. his parents rushed him to the Flower Mound Emergency Center.
Dr. James Doyle said Smith clearly got hit by a small amount of venom in the foot, and he was transferred by ambulance to Medical Center Lewisville for treatment.
"When the paramedics came to put me in the ambulance, they asked me, ‘were you really playing Pokemon Go, 'cause we were betting that's what was going on,’" said Smith.
Although still sore and his foot still swollen, Smith was back up and moving Thursday and had even started hunting Pokemon again.
His advice to other Poke-masters out there is to hunt in proper foot wear (unlike the sandals he was wearing), avoid those wooded paths at dusk when the snakes are looking for warm concrete to rest on and, above all, heed that on-screen warning to stay aware of the real world while playing the game.
"I'm just more cautious and aware of my surroundings,” said Smith.
Smith did add that, ironically, he has yet to come across the snake characters in the game but that friends who have are now naming the character after him…and his foot.