A Cooper City teen is recovering in the hospital after lightning knocked him out of a neighborhood ficus tree Thursday and left him with spinal fractures and a huge gash on his head.
"It's one of those mind-blowing things, those mind-blowing events that you'd never expect, thinking that you'd get struck by lightning," 15-year-old Stefan Marton said.
It turned out to be a lesson the soon-to-be sophomore didn't expect to learn, when Marton and his friend, 16-year-old Damian Samanick, climbed up the tree to hang out at Chase Park on the 9100 block of Southwest 49th Street.
Lightning hit the tree, and the jolt threw Marton to the ground. Samanick landed on a branch and held on, before climbing down on his own, authorities said.
"It's like a big boom, a flash, and kind of like throwing a stun grenade at you, you can't see anything, you can't do anything, you're helpless," said Marton.
The lightning current apparently traveled through his body. Marton recalls falling back, hitting his head on a branch before falling some 20 feet. He says he was unconscious for about 10 seconds.
"Everything just went blank and I woke up in the ambulance and I was like this actually happened," he explained.
Marton said he knew better than to climb up the tree in the rain.
"I would describe it as a big mistake. I should have just not went outside," he said.
His mother would agree.
"I was telling him I told you to stay home, but thank God you are okay," Dorina Marton said.
Despite his injuries, the teen considers himself very lucky. Marton may be released from Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital as early as Thursday. He will need a back brace and physical therapy to help him make a full recovery.
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