A DEVOTED dad is lucky to be alive after he was struck by a lightning bolt as his son played football a few yards away.
Stephen Paterson (below) was knocked to the ground unconscious after lightning hit the brolly he was using to shelter from torrential rain.
As first aiders raced to the stricken 41-year-old’s side, other parents ushered away horrified 14-year-old players, including Stephen’s son Corey.
Remarkably, Stephen, from Bannockburn, Stirling, walked out of hospital yesterday (Mon) just 24 hours after his brush with death.
The drama happened in Blackburn, West Lothian, as Stephen’s side, Milton FC under-15s took on the local side amid heavy rain.
With just 10 minutes to go, soaked Milton supporters had plenty to cheer as their team was 5-0 ahead.
Andrew Meechen, 19, (below) the first aider on the scene said: “We saw the lightning come down and it looked it had hit right behind him.
“The flash lit up the whole pitch – and then we saw the man fall.”
He added: “It was hard watching it. It was unreal trying to figure out what had happened.
“ I went over and took his jacket off and put him in the recovery position and then we used smelling salts to try and bring him round.
“We were just trying to keep him talking to us and keep him breathing normally.
“He was having difficulty keeping his eyes open and talking but his breathing was fine.
“The guy’s son was pretty scared about his dad. The other parents were really good and took him away and were looking after him.”
Davy Jones, secretary and coach of the Blackburn United 1999 team, said: “We just saw the light flash and I just saw the guy fall.
“Obviously there was panic because all the kids are only 14. When I first went over we were worried he still had a charge in him.”
He added: “When the ambulance came I had to help them take the stretcher across the park. They took him to hospital because they didn’t know what internal damage was.”
St John’s Hospital, Livingston, West Lothian, confirmed that Stephen had been discharged yesterday (mon) after being kept in for observation.
Writing on Twitter on Sunday night, Corey said: “Hope my dad gets better.
“What’s the chances of getting struck by lightning man?”
A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said they had managed to get the drama within five minutes. “The gentleman was breathing and conscious and was taken to St John’s Hospital,” he said.