Doctors: Cell phone saved woman's life in lightning strike

Brittney Prehn is still recovering from a lightning strike at a music festival in July.

KENOSHA COUNTY, Wis. (WTMJ) - Doctors say a woman's cell phone saved her life when she was hit by lightning at a music festival.

Brittney Prehn, 22, was at the Country Thunder Music Festival in Wisconsin July 20 when her life changed forever. She recently returned to the festival grounds, walking and talking after a miraculous survival.

"Coming here, I felt a little weird, nervous because I didn't know how I would react. But it didn't phase me. I checked the weather a bunch, but I wasn't too nervous," she said.

She was on her phone trying to find her friends when lightning struck. Doctors say it saved her life.

"I got directly hit but the phone took part of the hit and that's why my phone got thrown and there are two holes in the ground," Prehn said.

Brittney Prehn was holding her cell phone when it was struck by lightning.
Brittney Prehn was holding her cell phone when it was struck by lightning.

The lightning hit the right side of Brittney's head, traveling through her body and out through her right foot. She suffered fractures to her head, bleeding in her brain, burns and injuries that left her without hearing in her right ear.

She has some hearing left in her left ear, but she cups it to hear better. She also has paralysis on the right side of her face and pain in her hips, which makes walking difficult.

"You'll see me stomp my foot because I will feel electricity shoot my foot," she said.

She's already had two surgeries and undergoes physical and speech therapy four times a week. Her mother took leave from her job as a school bus driver to help care for Brittney.

"From the time she woke up, she's been a trooper. We're told repeatedly by all doctors she's a walking, talking miracle," said Lisa Prehn.

As she continues her long recovery, Brittney said the ordeal has changed her outlook on life.

"I see people walk around all upset and miserable. You're alive. You're here. You can hear. You can walk. You can see. I don't know. One day you could get hit by lightning and your whole world can be changed," she said.

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