CHATHAM — A 19-year-old man may have been struck by lightning on a football field on Thursday night.

Chatham Police Chief Brian Gibbons told the Morristown Daily Record the man did not remember what happened when officers arrived at Haas Field, in back of Chatham Middle School, around 8:40 p.m. The man had been unconscious for two minutes.

He tried to walk, but felt a tingling all over his body and was taken to Morristown Medical Center, Gibbons said.

The area was under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning at the time, according to New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow.

Zarrow said the storm was connected to the same cell that caused the Giants-Jets preseason game at MetLife Stadium to be suspended for an hour.

Gibbons told TAP into Chatham that a witness found Brendan Darby lying on the rubberized field about 10 feet from a soccer goalpost, and went to a nearby home for help.

Police told ABC 7 Eyewitness News that it was an "indirect" hit on the 19-year-old, but it was still serious.

Zarrow said when you notice lightning while outdoors:

  • NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area;
  • If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you;
  • When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing, or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up;
  • Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby, the following actions may reduce your risk:

  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges, or peaks;
  • Never lie flat on the ground;
  • Never shelter under an isolated tree;
  • Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter;
  • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water;
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.).

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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