Man struck by lightning on golf course is conscious, recovering at burn unit

Path that lightning took through ground when a golfer was struck at Sunbrook Golf Club, St. George, Utah, Feb. 23, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers. St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A man who’s heart stopped Friday when he was struck by lightning on a golf course is now conscious, mobile and healing at the burn unit at University Medical Center in Las Vegas.

Path of lightning that struck Justin Hofer can be seen in the areas within the bottom left and top right corners of the photo, St. George, Utah, Feb. 23, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

A few minutes before 2 p.m. Friday Justin Hofer was struck by lightning while golfing at Sunbrook Golf Club in St. George, and after being stabilized at Dixie Regional Medical Center was flown to UMC’s Lions Wound and Burn Care Center in Las Vegas.

Read more: Man transported to hospital after being struck by lightning while golfing

Later that night, Kelcey Hofer, the victim’s wife, provided an update on her husband’s condition, and that doctors were waiting for 48 hours before they could accurately assess the extent of his injuries.

Read more: Family provides update on St. George lightning strike victim’s condition

On Tuesday, Kelcey Hofer said that her husband is up and walking around, but remains on oxygen until the fluid in his lungs clears.

“He’s doing great, and getting stronger and stronger everyday,” she said.

She went on to say that the lightning damaged a portion of her husband’s heart tissue, but doctors told her it would have no affect on the heart’s function, and it gave them no cause for concern.

Hofer family portrait posted on GoFundMe account set up Sunday, date no photo not specified | Photo courtesy of the Hofer Family, St. George News

The burns that her husband suffered during the incident were primarily confined to the muscles, and doctors have not found that any major organs were damage, at least from their findings at this point, she said.

Justin Hofer is scheduled to have a skin graft on one of the burns either later tonight or early Wednesday morning, and once completed  doctors will monitor the site of the graft for the next four days, his wife said.

When asked if Justin Hofer has any memory of the incident, his wife said he remembers teeing off at the first hole, but has no memory of anything after that.

Her husband was struck at the fifth hole.

More than $12,400 has been raised through a GoFundMe account that was set up Sunday to help the family; it will be some time before Justin Hofer is able to return to work.

That site can be accessed by clicking here.

Lightning in the U.S.  

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration detects cloud-to-ground lightning strikes anywhere in the U.S. using a National Lightning Detection Network, and found that the states with the most lightning-related deaths are concentrated in the Southeast and Southwest of the country.

According to data compiled from 2005 through 2014, Utah ranked No. 6 in the states with the highest number of individuals killed in lightning strikes.

On average, lightning strikes are fatal to about 10 percent of people who are struck. The remaining 90 percent survive, however they often suffer from an array of long-term, often debilitating symptoms.

These lightning fast facts were provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

  • 25 million – Average cloud-to-ground lightning strikes per year in the U.S.
  • Lightning can reach 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • There are 1,800 thunderstorms, on average, at any given moment on earth.
  • Lightning hits the earth 100 times per second.
  • Lightning can strike between 5-10 miles from the thunderstorm.
  • The energy of a lightning bolt can exceed the power of a nuclear reactor.
  • The average lightning strike can light a 100-watt bulb for more than 3 months.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.


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  • Caveat_Emptor February 27, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    While infrequent, it still occurs here in SW Utah, and last week was really unusual due to the winter-like weather conditions. There appeared to be only one loud thunderclap. Hopefullly, Mr. Hofer will recover quickly, with minimal residual health issues.

  • LunchboxHero February 28, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Wishing the victim a full recovery!

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