University student struck by lightning on the first day of school (includes video story)

The first day of school is always a shock, but University of West Florida student Emma Eggler got an extra-strong dose.

She was admitted to the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham where doctors told her she was extremely lucky her heart didn’t stop.

“A lot of doctors told me I should buy a lottery ticket because I was lucky,” she said. Emma says she didn’t feel anything, that she just woke up on the ground. The lighting strike hit her chest and traveled down the left side of her body, tearing her shirt open and causing her Apple Watch to explode and burn her wrist. She was paralyzed from the legs down and Senior Nelson Libbert called 911 for help.

“We definitely feel like God performed a miracle for her. That is the only explanation for why she is still with us,” said Erin Eggler, Emma’s mother.

Emma Eggler has been released from the hospital and has regained movement in her legs. She is expected to return to classes next week.

Esteban Rodriguez is a sophomore majoring in TV/Broadcast media. He is a producer for Caplin News and FIU's Sports show, Sideline. He hopes to pursue this path of producing for Sports Networks and/or Hollywood in the Film Industry.


Samantha Gutierrez is a student journalist majoring in Digital Communication and Media. As a bilingual reporter, she enjoys covering stories about her diverse Miami community. With a strong passion for broadcasting, she aspires to pursue a career as a multimedia journalist in South Florida.