‘I could have died:’ Merritt Island girl struck by lightning comes home

Lori Leer, 14, home from hospital for first time since June 10

MERITT ISLAND, Fla. – Six weeks after being struck by lightning, Lori Leer, 14, is finally home.

The road back to Merritt Island is also Lori’s road to her recovery.

“Great to be home,” the teen said Friday. “I feel like I could have died.”

One of Lori’s guardian angels June 10 was her friend, Ava Wiedmann.

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Wiedmann said Leer’s skin turned purple after the lightning strike.

“I was scared,” Wiedmann said.

She said herself, Leer and McKenzie McCord — who also went to the hospital after the lightning strike — were watching a movie when they heard thunder. She said they made the mistake of going outside to look.

When the lightning struck Leer, Wiedmann said dispatchers over the phone guided her through performing CPR, possibly saving the 14-year-old’s life.

“They ended up telling me to push up on her neck and back on her head and that’s when she started to wake up,” Wiedmann said.

Leer said she couldn’t remember anything until she was at the hospital.

“My first memory was probably just laying in my bed and I was like looking up and I was like, ‘Where am I,’” she said.

And after a month of learning to walk again and speech therapy, the girl now begins therapy at home

“Tearful, very emotional because at one point she couldn’t walk and now she’s walking,” Wiedmann said of Leer’s recovery.

With continuing therapy, Leer said she doesn’t expect to be ready when school starts in a couple of weeks so she’s planning on beginning her first year of high school by taking classes online.

Fundraisers to pay for medical expenses were organized for Leer and McCord.

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About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.