The soccer game between Wolmers’ Boys and Jamaica College on September 16 was abruptly stopped at the 84th minute when multiple players collapsed simultaneously. Three of them had been struck by lightning — a one in a million odds of happening.
Footage of the game captured the bright flashes from the lightning, immediately followed by two of the boys doubling over as bystanders rushed onto the field to help. According to the Jamaica Gleaner, both players were sent immediately to the hospital, while a third was admitted later in the day.
Many consider it the fault of referee Karl Tyrell for allowing the game to continue during the storm.
“We saw flashes during the game, but us, the team of officials there, we never saw anything forcing us to call the game right there and then,” Tyrell told the Jamaica Gleaner.
Tyrell recommends that the 30-30 rule be implemented in the community to prevent further injuries like this from happening. What the rule entails is, if thunder and lightning occur within 30 seconds of each other, the lightning is too dangerous close to allow play to continue; playing cannot resume until at least 30 minutes after the thunder and lightning stop; all players and officials must leave the field to find shelters, spectators must be evacuated.
It is more likely to be struck by lightning if in an open area. There are some warning signs that happen before lightning strikes, including hearing a loud buzzing sound and feeling the hairs on your arms or head start to stand on end.
If you feel in danger, move your feet close together and crouch down, grabbing your ankles.