Lightning jolt sends Grossmont High teen to the ER

Posted at 9:57 PM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-25 19:10:07-04
A local high school football player is talking only to 10News about the jolt of lightning that brought him to his knees.
He’s just a kid but this 14-year-old Grossmont High School football player is as tough as they come.
Dennis Tuatagaloa said, “I just felt this wave of electricity hit my body and it knocked me down to my knees.”
The teen said it was the second lightning strike he saw as he left the football field around 6:15 p.m. Monday that got him.
“It went from my head to my toes. Every muscle in my body was cramping up.”
He’s 6 feet tall and 250 pounds but he was powerless against that force of nature.
“Just somebody tackling you down to the ground and basically hugging you there. I don’t know, it was one of the worst pains in my life," he said.
He remembers his teammates talking to him but he couldn’t talk to them. He said it felt like he was stuttering. And then, there was the smell.
“I was just smelling all different type of smoke.”
We talked to Dennis outside the emergency room at Kaiser Hospital and he said an EKG showed his heart looked fine but he was still feeling some pain and his legs were still tingling. Despite it all, Dennis is still smiling.
"I’m lucky, actually, most people don’t usually make it from lightning hits, so I’m lucky," he said.

Monday's storm produced over 3,400 lightning flashes and ground strikes, according to the National Weather Service.