A monsoon storm hit the Phoenix area on Aug. 8, 2018, bringing wind and rain with it.
Arizona Republic

The 13-year-old boy who was struck by lightning last week in El Mirage was released from the hospital Monday afternoon.

Josiah Wiedman was walking through a park near 121st Avenue and Moreno Boulevard with his friend 13-year-old Javier Tapia during a storm that swept through the Valley the night of Aug. 8. 

The wood of Josiah’s skateboard was against his body when the bolt hit the board and traveled through Josiah and Javier, Josiah’s aunt Danielle Castaneda said.

Javier was also struck but not seriously hurt. He was released from Phoenix Children’s Hospital a day after the strike.

However, the bolt launched Josiah into the air and he suffered head injuries when he hit the ground, Castaneda said in an initial post on a Gofundme page set up for the family. He was on a breathing tube and drug-induced coma late last week.

When Josiah woke up from the coma three days after he was struck, he recalled walking through the park and feeling a warmth before “things went dark,” Josiah’s father, William Wiedman, told The Arizona Republic Monday night.

Josiah didn’t know that he was in a hospital when he awakened, Wiedman said.

“He remembers … jumping back on his skateboard and going back home,” Wiedman said. “He thought he was at home and asleep for two hours when it was three days.”

Over the next few days, Josiah made progress with speech and physical therapy while being treated at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Initially, his father said, Josiah was able to list only three animals when his speech therapist prompted him to name every animal he knows. During his last session, Josiah listed around 30 animals, his father said.

Wiedman said his son has “very high blood pressure,” and that he’s been wearing a patch that gets changed every five days to regulate it.

Josiah will continue doing speech and physical therapy, Wiedman said, adding that it’s unclear how long therapy will last.

Josiah can talk and walk on his own, but won’t be able to return to school for at least two weeks.

One of the biggest hurdles Josiah faces before going back to school is regaining his short-term memory, his father said.

Several people have visited Josiah at the hospital, but his father said Josiah has frequently forgotten those visits once the person leaves.

Josiah has also forgotten conversations with his father.

“He received cool T-shirts from his brother yesterday and I was there and I got to see him receive the T-shirts and after that, at least four times today, he said, ‘Hey, Dad, did you see these T-shirts I got?'” Wiedman said.

Josiah still has a journey ahead, but his father said it was “miraculous” that he survived the strike and has recovered so quickly.

He said he was initially in denial about what happened to his son and described the experience as “surreal.”

“It just built my faith up,” Wiedman said.

GoFundMe page was set up to assist the family with medical expenses. As of Monday evening, it has raised more than $3,300 of its $5,000 goal.


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