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Sixteen Injured by Lightning Strike on Football Field

August 30, 1995

FORNEY, Texas (AP) _ Matt Donnell remembers running on the field during football practice when he heard a big crash. Teammate Chris Smith felt his knees buckle and fell to the ground.

Lightning struck the small field at Forney High School on Tuesday, injuring 14 students and two assistant coaches.

The bolt apparently hit 15-year-old Clay Jones in the helmet, said Denise Walton, a spokeswoman for Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

Jones suffered cardiac arrest and burns and was listed in critical condition today.

About 100 varsity and junior varsity players who had been working out Tuesday afternoon were just leaving the field when the lightning struck, sending players and coaches sprawling.

``We were just running and all of a sudden there was a big boom,″ said Donnell, 15, a junior varsity player.

Smith, also a junior varsity player, said his knees buckled.

``Then I got up, looked beside me and my friend ... he couldn’t get up,″ Smith said. ``So I picked him up and ran inside.″

Varsity coach Mel Maxfield and assistant coach Brad Turner realized Jones didn’t have a pulse and wasn’t breathing and began performing CPR.

``When we took off his helmet, the side of his head had a burn mark. He was very pale and he was bleeding out of his ears,″ Turner said.

Walton said a second player was admitted to the intensive care unit and 11 other students were either released or in stable condition. Some of the students had burns and internal injuries, she said.

Turner and another assistant coach, Horlos Barrett, and a student were treated at The Medical Center in Mesquite. The coaches were sent home and the student was in stable condition, said nursing supervisor Carolyn Grinstead.

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