Colorado lightning strike survivor shares his story

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

Isaiah Cormier spoke with the doctor that helped him back on his feet and others wanting to know how to avoid being struck in the first place.

This is that time of year when lightning strikes light up Colorado’s skies.

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.

Cormier was at a campground near Nederland, when a bolt of lightning knocked out the 19 year old.

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 girlfriend –- at the time -- saved his life by doing CPR.

Cormier was taken to the UCHealth Burn Center and that’s where he returned to Friday.

He spoke at a lecture that addressed 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, and said 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 – on average - kills 3 people and injures a dozen others every year in Colorado

Cormier said he thought he was in a safe area when he was hit.

Still he says, if you see lightning he encourages people to take cover as soon as possible.

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