‘Feels like yesterday’: Va. boy struck by lightning in 2009 sets sights on new path

‘Feels like yesterday’: Va. boy struck by lightning in 2009 sets sights on new path

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Jonathan Colson is a miracle.

“I know I got hurt because I was in the hospital but I didn’t know why," he said in 2009, just three months into his recovery from a lightning strike.

He says he was dead for 48 minutes, kept alive by doctors.

Jonathan Colson, 1 month after being struck by lightning.
Jonathan Colson, 1 month after being struck by lightning. (Source: Family photo)

At the time of the interview in 2009, Jonathan had just learned how to talk and talk again. He spent 23 days in a coma at 11 years old.

“I didn’t see the initial strike. I just saw our kids laying on the field,” his mom Judy Colson said in 2009.

The incident happened on June 3, 2009, at Lee Hill Park in Spotslyvania County.

Jonathan Colson interviews with NBC12 one month after the incident.
Jonathan Colson interviews with NBC12 one month after the incident. (Source: NBC12)

The odds of being struck by lightning, according to the National Weather Service, are 1 in 700,000.

Storms forced little league baseball players off the field that day. Jonathan was playing catch with his friend Chelal Gross-Matos when lightning struck.

Chelal was killed. Jonathan survived.

“I can’t believe it. It feels like just yesterday,” said Jonathan, who is now 21 years old and taking classes at Germanna Community College.

Jonathan Colson with his friends after graduating from high school.
Jonathan Colson with his friends after graduating from high school. (Source: Family photo)

“I think I remember leaving for school, and then us going to the baseball game, and that’s really where it ends for me," he said.

Jonathan says the lightning entered through the left side of his head.

“It went all through my body, and kind of separated towards my legs, so between the middle toe and big toe of both my feet, I had marks there," he said.

Jonathan still had burn marks on his legs in his first interview 10 years ago. Over the years they’ve faded, but Jonathan’s never forgotten his friend Chelal.

“He was such a upbeat guy, such a good friend, he was great to talk to, we would always play catch before practices. Once me and him became friends, every single time at practice or anything we were inseparable,” said Jonathan.

At age 11, Jonathan had some pretty big aspirations for his future. He say wanted to have 14 kids and go to Australia."

Laughing, Jonathan now says “Yeah that was the plan, but not really any more. Things change. Yeah for sure.”

Jonathan’s heading to VCU in the fall. He wants to eventually get a doctorate in physical therapy.

Jonathan Colson shows off his acceptance letter to VCU.
Jonathan Colson shows off his acceptance letter to VCU.

He says his new path in life is thanks to those who helped him recover.

“My physical therapists were amazing," he said. "They made every single physical therapy not really seem like work, they made it seem like an experience. I can, if I can grow up and make it that amazing for another kid, I’ll feel, I’ll feel like I gave back.”

Jonathan Colson is that 1 in 700,000.

Want to hear more from Jonathan?

NBC12 is launching a new podcast, How We Got Here, on June 3.

The podcast will take you through quirky moments in Virginia history all the way up until present day. A new episode will launch weekly on Mondays on all the favorite places you download your podcasts.

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