AMORY – Dr. Gerald Parker’s recent experience with a lightning strike reminded him how dangerous and unpredictable lightning can be.

Attending the PGA Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Course in Atlanta has become a two-year tradition for the Amory physician and his family. The 2018 tournament was particularly memorable because of Tiger Woods’ dramatic “comeback” win.

The 2019 tournament was also memorable but for a different reason. On that Saturday, play was halted because of inclement weather. Dr. Parker and his family sought shelter under an open pavilion close to the driving range to wait on the storm to pass.

While taking shelter there, lightning struck a tree approximately 20 yards from the pavilion.

“It sounded and felt like a bomb going off” said Dr. Parker, a board-certified family medicine physician with Amory Medical Clinic. “We knew the storm was getting closer but we had no idea it was that close.”

According to the PGA Tour, the six people who sustained injuries from the lightning strike were all treated and released within 24 hours. Injuries were caused by the concussive effects of the lightning and debris from the tree that was struck.

Dr. Parker realizes this situation could have been much worse. He and his family feel very fortunate that they were safe and that injuries to others were not worse. He hopes that this is a reminder to others to be cautious around lightning and observe basic safety rules.

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