Lightning Strike Hurts 6 at Las Cruces Middle School Football Practice in New Mexico

August 20, 2014

A lightning strike at a New Mexico middle school football practice left six people injured Tuesday afternoon, and one boy was hospitalized in critical condition, police say.

The boy, 13-year-old Hunter Keffer, was stabilized and taken to a pediatric burn unit, according to the Albuquerque Journal. 

His mother told the Associated Press his condition had improved, and he was able to breathe on his own.

Authorities said the lightning strike occurred at about 5 p.m. local time Tuesday in an open field at Picacho Middle School. No warnings were issued on the storm by the National Weather Service.

"The thunderstorm near Las Cruces, New Mexico, did develop quickly Tuesday afternoon," said meteorologist Linda Lam. "However, this is not an uncommon occurrence during monsoon season (the summer) in the Southwest."

(MORE: Students Dig Up a Tragic Secret)

Las Cruces Public Schools officials say two other players and a coach were sent to the hospital, but they were conscious and responsive. Two other children were treated at the scene but didn't need to be hospitalized, the Albuquerque Journal added.

So far this year, there have been 20 deaths in the United States due to lightning strikes, according to NOAA data.

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