Young lightning strike survivor talks about recovery

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

SPOTSYLVANIA, VA (WWBT) - The family of a little boy who survived a lightning strike in Spotsylvania County is talking for the first time about his recovery.

Another boy was killed in the June 3 tragedy on a little league field.

After weeks in the hospital, 11 year old Jonathan Colson is now back home with his family. Jonathan says he doesn't remember what happened. Right now, the focus is on a full recovery which isn't expected for another two to three years.

"I know I got hurt because I was in the hospital but I didn't know why," said Jonathan from his living room.

Burn scars on his legs are reminders of that tragic day at Lee Hill Park when Jonathan lost a friend and nearly his life. Jonathan and 12 year old Chelal Gross-Matos were playing catch while waiting for their little league game to resume. Lightning forced the teams off the field.

"I didn't see the initial strike I just saw our kids laying on the field," said Jonathan's mom, Judy Colson.

Two nurses started CPR. Gross-Matos didn't make it. Jonathan barely survived a lightning strike to the head.

"He was so energetic and not seeing him like that it was hard," said Jonathan's 15 year old brother, Jeromy.

His family says he's come a long way.

"He wasn't able to talk at first," said Judy Colson.

Jonathan communicated through hand signals. Two weeks later, he finally spoke.

"He had to relearn how to walk again," said Judy Colson.

His parents say swim therapy at Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center in Charlottesville helped Jonathan regain physical strength. His brother and sister have turned his recovery into a game.

"Do I make it fun, I mean I try," said Jeromy Colson.

For now, the sixth grader works with a teacher at home. Video games and stacks of homemade get well cards also keep him busy.

"He's doing a really good job doing it he's a strong kid," said Judy Colson.

In addition to playing ball again, Jonathan has big plans.

"Have 14 kids, go to Australia," said Jonathan.

He also has a message for community members who've offered kind words and support.

"Thank you everybody," said Jonathan.

On Sunday, September 20, the Colson family will hold a community thank you and welcome home celebration. It'll be held at Salem Fields Community Church in Fredericksburg from 4 to 7.

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