Two Major League Soccer teams held a moment of silence before their scoreless draw Sunday to support the recovery of an Ohio firefighter who was critically injured after he was struck by lightning in the parking lot outside the game Saturday.
The Columbus Crew and FC Dallas were scheduled to play on Saturday night, but their game was rescheduled after firefighter Stu Tudor was hit by lightning. The 54-year-old lieutenant in the Columbus Fire Department went into cardiac arrest and was transported to a nearby hospital.
Columbus Fire Department Battalion Chief Tracy Smith said Sunday that Tudor remains in critical condition at the Ohio State Medical Center. Smith said it's not known if Tudor was struck directly.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that Tudor had just finished playing in a charity soccer game to raise money for fallen or injured police officers and firefighters. The lightning bolt struck Tudor on the shoulder and exited through his right leg, according to the newspaper.
Columbus Fire Fighters Union President Jack Reall told the paper that Tudor is in a medically induced coma.
"The fact that he’s still alive is encouraging," Reall told the paper. "We’re trying to make sure that we take care of him the best we can. ... Hopefully, we can get him back on the road to recovery.”
The game between the Columbus Crew and FC Dallas was scheduled to start at 8 p.m. local time, but kick-off was delayed due to storms with heavy rain and lightning that rolled through the area approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled start.
Fans were told to evacuate the stands and head toward the concourses of the double-decked stadium. The game was called at 9:12 p.m. and was rescheduled for Sunday.
Crew fan Don Lewis told the newspaper that he was taking cover during heavy rain in a portable toilet when he said he felt electricity run through the air and then heard someone in the toilet next to him call 911 to report that someone had been hit by lightning.
"All of a sudden it was just a bomb that went off," Lewis told the newspaper. "I knew it was close. The electricity ran through me."
He said he saw a man lying on the ground when he got out of the toilet.
"He was purple and had his shirt ripped off," Lewis said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.