Utah man struck by lightning shares his story, discusses road to recovery

Posted at 8:56 PM, Feb 25, 2018

ST. GEORGE, Utah - A man struck by lightning while golfing in St. George Friday is still recovering Sunday.

Justin Hofer said he remembers golfing with friends from work and then waking up in the hospital.

After he was struck, a friend saw he had fallen to the ground and was on fire. Hofer's wife, Kelcey, said friends used jackets to put out the fire. They tended to him until first responders arrived.

“I think first responders had to do CPR for a little bit," Kelcey said. "I know his heart stopped possibly twice. I’m not 100 percent sure on that. They did have to use defibrillators to shock it back into rhythm.”

Justin was taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center by ambulance and then was flown to a burn center in Las Vegas.

He spoke with FOX 13 via FaceTime Sunday afternoon from his hospital bed.

“It’s not fun. Not what I was expecting for a Friday afternoon," he said.

Considering he was struck by lightning, Kelcey said Justin is doing really well. She said he has a little heart damage, but it is not affecting anything. Doctors are keeping an eye on that and his kidneys.

"His blood pressure's good. His heart rate's good. His oxygen level's good," Kelcey said.

Plus, Justin is already getting up and walking around. The doctors told them this is a good thing because it helps his organs function better and helps his skin recover from the burns. Stretching keeps the skin from healing too tight, Kelcey said.

Justin hopes to leave the hospital in a few days, but doctors told him to give it at least a week.

In the meantime, his friends started a GoFundMe page to help Justin get back on his feet. They hope to offset the cost of medical bills until he can get back to work. In one day, the page raised more than the $10,000 goal.

“We just can’t thank everybody enough for their love and support and the kind words and the money donated," Justin said.

In between visits from friends and family, Justin rests. He did share some advice with FOX 13.

“When it’s cloudy or a little bit drizzly: stay off the golf course. It’s not worth it," he said. "You don’t think something like that is ever going to happen until it happens to you and then it’s like, woah. That was a bad choice.”