Quick-thinking coach helped save boy after lightning strike

Alexander Hermann, 9, was struck by lightning when he was playing soccer at the LYTA fields. (Courtesy: Hermann Family)
Alexander Hermann, 9, was struck by lightning when he was playing soccer at the LYTA fields. (Courtesy: Hermann Family)

BEE CAVE, Texas (KXAN) — A 9-year-old boy is still in the hospital after a lightning strike nearly killed him Tuesday. Alexander Hermann was transferred to a Dallas hospital where doctors are treating him, his sister said. But if it wasn’t for a coach on the field, the young soccer player might not have made it, Austin Travis County EMS officials said.

“Seeing a kid on the ground like that is not easy,” said Carson Monks, 19, a brand new soccer coach with the Dynamo Juniors of Central Texas. Monks said it was about 4:40 p.m. when he was getting ready for his first time as a coach and the first day of soccer practice.

He said there was a mixture of sun and clouds at the Lake Travis Youth Association Field of Dreams in Bee Cave, but nothing that seemed dangerous at the time.

He said moments later he heard a big clap of thunder then people calling for help.  Monks ran from one field to another where he found Hermann laying lifeless on the ground.

Carson Monks performed CPR on the 9-year-old boy after he was struck by lightning.
Carson Monks performed CPR on the 9-year-old boy after he was struck by lightning.

“Pretty much as soon as I got there, verbally I said, ‘God help me,'” said Monks, who started performing CPR on the boy. The coach said he was able to block out the parents screaming and crying and focused on saving the boy’s life. “I was kind of in shock, my adrenaline was kicking in.”

When he first felt the young soccer player, Monks said Hermann was cold, not breathing and didn’t have a pulse. After working on him for three to five minutes parents saw him take a breath.

“As soon as I got a pulse, I just felt like a sense of joy, a sense of happiness in doing something and that he’s on his way back to recovery,” said Monks. He learned CPR as a lifeguard and has a family full of people used to helping others. His father is a doctor, brother is a paramedic and sister is a nurse.

“If I wasn’t there, I wouldn’t know what would have happened. No one else knew CPR, I was pretty much the only one out here doing CPR,” he added. “When I was leaving out of these fields, tears came to my eyes knowing that kids life might be taken.”

But so far the 9-year-old is fighting, a chance he may not have had if it wasn’t for the coach’s quick thinking.

If you are struck by lightning your heart can stop instantly, doctors say. Those nearby are also in danger of being seriously injured.

“You can also have a concussion effect from lightning if you’re close enough,” said Dr. Erik Strelnieks. “Because of the amount of heat involved — we’re talking about five times the surface of the sun — it can actually produce a pressure wave. So that can blast into you…you know, collapse a lung.”

The Lake Travis Youth Association said it cancelled practices on Wednesday and will resume activities on Thursday. The group is said it is looking at their safety measures and how to enhance their procedures.

Lightning Safety Measures:

Lake Travis ISD installed a lighting detection system at the high school football stadium and two middle schools. The $20,000 system is called ‘Thor Guard’ can detect lightning strikes at least 10 miles out.

The district says administrators and coaches will get an advanced warning via email if there’s lightning or bad weather 15 to 20 minutes before hand.

“In this day and age when you can’t tell what Mother Nature is going to do until she actually does it, these actually come in very handy to give us a little warning on what she may be up to,” said Marco Alvarado, director of communications for Lake Travis ISD.

Back in 2012 when the district first installed the system, it went off during a Friday night football game and they had to evacuate the stadium.


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