Bystanders save father struck by lightning at Little League game

An off-duty nurse and others performed CPR and the man is in critical condition; he was carrying his daughter, 4, who is in fair condition


By Paul Walsh
Star Tribune

MINNEAPOLIS — Lightning struck a father and his 4-year-old daughter as they attended his son’s Little League Baseball game Sunday on the Iron Range, prompting bystanders to administer aid, a league official and authorities said.

Jay Mott, 51, of Virginia, Minn., was in critical condition Monday at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, while daughter Ava was in fair condition from her injuries, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The Motts were hit about 2 p.m. at the Cherry Township Town Hall recreational facility, about 10 miles east of Hibbing, Minn.

Less than two hours later and 65 miles to the southeast, a 12-year-old boy was struck by lightning during a storm at Enger Park Golf Course in Duluth. Police said Monday that Nathan Burke’s condition has improved from critical to stable.

At the Virginia rec center, Mott and the others were waiting out a thunderstorm that had delayed his son’s ballgame, said Little League Board President Justin Simon.

Ava was “getting a little fussy sitting around,” so Mott decided to carry her to the family’s van, Simon said.

Mott got to within about 20 feet of the vehicle, when the lightning hit him.

“A nurse and others gave CPR,” Simon said. “They got his heart going.”

Simon said he believes that without that initial medical attention from bystanders, Mott “probably wouldn’t be here. It’s pretty much a miracle that he’s alive.”

Emergency responders then arrived and took Mott by ambulance to a hospital in Hibbing, Minn. From there, he was transferred to Essentia.

Mott’s son and his teammates were in the dugout and did not witness the lightning hitting Mott, Simon said. Play was called off for the day.

Simon said that Mott, who is on the Little League board, is “still not awake and has a breathing tube” inserted. He has suffered a couple of cardiac arrests since being hospitalized, but “his heart is steady now, and his vitals are good.”

“Ava has some burns, but is doing great,” Simon said.

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©2015 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

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