A Man is Hit by a Bolt of Lightning While Sitting on His Couch and Playing Playstation

"The smell was me burning."

A British man had an unexpectedly vivid video-gaming experience recently when he was hit by lightning while sitting on his couch using his PlayStation. He's all right after a trip to the hospital although the incident left him with scars on his arm. Read on to find out what happened to the man after the strike, how a lightning strike indoors is even possible, and how common it is. 

1
A Crack of Thunder, Then Pain

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Aidan Rowan, 33, was using his PlayStation around 10:30 pm last Monday when he heard a loud crack followed by a heavy sensation in his body, Oxford Mail reported. His alarmed husband rushed him to the hospital near their home in Abingdon, a town in southern England. Ironically, the game Rowan was playing was Stray, where you control a lost cat during a thunderstorm. "I was on the sofa playing a game where you play as a stray cat and it was thundering outside," said Rowan. "There was a very loud crack of thunder and I sort of felt a very heavy sensation all over and then a searing heat in my right arm where there are now burns."

2
"The Smell Was Me Burning"

stormstruckcosplay/Instagram

"It took about a minute to come back to my senses, I felt very, very confused. I went upstairs and asked my husband for a wet towel as I didn't know what had happened but my arm was burning," Rowan told Metro. "He asked what that smell was and it was me burning." Rowan's husband called his parents to take them to the hospital. He said he could see Rowan's arm blistering in front of his eyes.

3
Experienced Left Him With Scars

emergency room sign
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When the group got to the emergency room, eyebrows were raised at the check-in area, when Rowan's husband said he may have been injured in a lightning strike. Nine doctors examined Rowan, and they concluded that he had in fact been struck by lightning. At first, Rowan had an irregular heartbeat, but it stabilized, and after a few hours, he was released with some pain medication. Today, he has some scars on his left arm and a starburst-shaped burn on his right hand. 

4
How Could This Happen?

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Doctors believe a bolt of lightning may have bounced off standing rainwater and through the window near where Rowan was sitting, striking him; recent hot weather had hardened the ground, making such an effect possible. "We just couldn't really process it at the time," said Rowan. "After a few days it started to mentally affect me, realizing that I could have died."

5
How Common Is An Indoor Lightning Strike?

houseplants and watering can on windowsill
Grumpy Cow Studios / Shutterstock

Indoor lightning injuries aren't as freakish as this one may seem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of all injuries caused by lightning strikes occur indoors. "There are three main ways lightning enters structures: a direct strike, through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure or through the ground," says the National Weather Service. "Once in a structure, lightning can travel through the electrical, phone, plumbing, and radio/television reception systems. Lightning can also travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring." During a lightning storm, the agency advises not touching electrical equipment such as computers, TVs, or cords.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more
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