A moment of silence: 15 years since lightning strikes, killing youth soccer player in N.B.
FREDERICTON, N.B. - A moment of silence took place on Saturday between youth soccer games to remember a tragedy that happened on the field 15-years-ago in Fredericton.
On the afternoon of July 20, 2003 a lightning strike hit a field out of the blue, where a weekend soccer tournament was wrapping up.
The strike of lightning took the life of 14-year-old Sarah McLain, a soccer player from Lee, Maine.
About two dozen other people were also taken to hospital as a precaution following the strike.
The tragedy sparked change in the way that weather events are monitored and dealt with, with new safety precautions enforced shortly after.
“We went from a city of ‘oh don’t worry there’s lightning off in the distance, I can see it, but it’s far away, don’t worry about it’.. to a city that recognizes that when you do see lightening, when it does happen, you got to get off the field. You gotta get to a safe place, really which is a building or vehicle,” said Barry Morrison, the head coach of the Fredericton District Soccer Association Club.
A strict thunder and lightning policy remains in effect forcing all players, spectators, and any other members on the field to leave and wait 30 minutes before reentering the field again.
For soccer player Sydney Campbell and the new generation of players, the policy has become second nature.
“I think everybody knows by now, especially out age group which is youth 17, so we’re been playing with that rule for awhile,” said Campbell.
An annual sportsmanship award is presented every year in Sarah McLain’s name, and there is a memorial at the field where she played her last game.
A life lost, but remembered and leading to change for those who play on and continue her passion for the game.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore