Lightning injures Polk County teen on ATV

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POLK COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – It happened on Sunday while he was camping at Cherokee National Forest in Polk County.

15-year-old Hunter Waldroup was on an ATV on the way back to a camper when a bolt of lightning hit.

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“The last thing he remembers is a white flash and he doesn’t remember anything after that,” Waldroup’s mother Kelley Clonts said. “His dad and he actually said that he heard the thunder and the lightning and it was so close that it shook the camper.”

Clonts said Waldroup was found lying unconscious next to the ATV.

Waldroup was given CPR then became conscious and was taken to a hospital.

“A nightmare that’s about all. It was just unreal,” Clonts said.

According to the National Weather Service, the odds of getting struck by lightning a given year is more than one in one million.

In the last 10 years, lightning killed 27 people on average and caused hundreds of injuries.

Waldroup, a Polk County sophomore and football player, is now recovering at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Clonts said he had injuries to a lung and busted his right ear drum.

While it’s unclear how the lightning injured him, the situation could’ve been much worse.

Clonts said she feels blessed.

“There is no other way that he would have made it out of this except for God. There’s no way,” Clonts said.

Clonts said that the support from the community and people has been amazing.

And she appreciates all the support and prayers.

Clonts said they hope to get Waldroup back home from the hospital Friday.

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