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Lightning strike leaves Ohio boy brain-damaged

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AP

A 13-year-old southwest Ohio boy seriously hurt by a lightning strike at an Indiana summer camp in June is breathing on his own but hasn't been able to speak or move without help, his family and doctors said.

The jolt of lightning stopped Ethan Kadish's heart and led to brain damage, his parents and doctors at Cincinnati Children's Hospital said Tuesday. The boy is still undergoing treatment and rehabilitation at the hospital, and the damage to his brain was significant, said Dr. David Pruitt, the hospital's medical director of in-patient rehabilitation.

"It's very early in Ethan's recovery process, and I expect his overall brain recovery time will extend at least for a couple of years," Pruitt said.

The boy was injured June 29 at Goldman Union Camp Institute, a Reform Jewish camp that serves children in the Midwest entering grades three to 12. A 9-year-old Chesterfield, Mo., girl, and a 9-year-old Louisville, Ky.-area boy were also hospitalized for injuries from the lightning strike but were released a few days later.

Camp Director and Rabbi Mark Covitz said Kadish was teaching younger campers how to play ultimate Frisbee when the lightning struck near the athletic field on a mostly sunny day with a rumble of thunder in the distance, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. Covitz said no one saw the lightning, but a loud crack was heard and staffers later found a dead tree about 40 yards from the field.

The boy's father, Scott Kadish, said he heard people who were there refer to the lightning "as a bolt out of the blue."

Covitz speculated that the lightning may have bounced off the tree.

The boy's mother, Alexia Kadish, said she sees some small progress and often climbs into her son's hospital bed to comfort and talk to him.

"I see more light behind his eyes," she said of her son, who loved playing baseball.

She said she often talks to him about what his brother and sister are doing and about TV shows and the Cincinnati Reds.