Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland teen 'knocked out cold' after lightning strike at US golf tournament

Ryan Murphy was following Rory McIlroy at the event in Atlanta. Credit: BBC
Ryan Murphy was following Rory McIlroy at the event in Atlanta. Credit: BBC

A Co Tyrone teenager was "knocked out cold" after being struck by lightning at a US golf tournament, his father has said.

Terry Murphy said his son Ryan (19), from Cookstown, was following Rory McIlroy at the FedEx Cup in Atlanta when the freak incident occured.

Ryan had been working in the US over the summer and had been planning the golf trip for a year.

He was providing a running commentary of the championship via text with his dad, who was watching the event on TV.

Ryan's final text mentioned play was being suspended due to storms and, when news broke about the lightning strike, Mr Murphy said he new something was wrong.

"I just felt it in my gut so I tried to call him," he told the BBC.

Ryan's family began ringing Atlanta hospitals, not knowing if anything had happened to their son for around 45 minutes.

While Ryan's mother was speaking to a nurse, Ryan answered his phone.

"I heard the beeping of machines and I knew it was medical," he said.

"The first thing he said to me was 'Don't say anything to mummy'."

It then emerged that Ryan was sheltering under a tree when the lightning struck, but all he could remember was waking up "yards away" surrounded by paramedics.

"He's had scans just to make sure there is no internal damage," his dad said.

Thankfully, Ryan was discharged from the hospital on Sunday afternoon and is hoping to fly home on Tuesday.

"He's bruised and shaken," he said. "And he wants to come home."

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of incident and was providing "consular assistance".

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