Saturday night's Columbus Crew match with FC Dallas came to a halt before it began. As the players were warming up, the sky became darker and darker. After the coaches and players went to the locker room for final match preparation, heavy rain began to fall followed by a lightning strike close to the stadium. The match was delayed with less than eight minutes until kickoff.
During the delay, reports began to surface of E.M.T.s responding to an injured person in the parking lot. Shortly after it was reported - and later confirmed by eyewitness accounts - that a person had been struck by lightning in the parking lot.
According to Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch, a fan on the scene was taking cover from the storm in a port-a-john when he felt electricity run through his body. The fan, Don Lewis, heard someone call 9-1-1 in the port-a-john next to him and opened the door to find a man on the ground, "purple and had his shirt ripped off."
Initial responders found the victim unresponsive and he was pronounced dead at the scene, but Jardy was able to confirm that despite initial reports, the initial pronouncements were incorrect and the victim was alive.
Police officers on the scene declined to comment other than to confirm that a person was taken to the hospital.
Less than 40 minutes later, the P.A. announcer at Columbus Crew Stadium announced that the match had been cancelled due to "reasons beyond our control" and tickets would be honored for the rescheduled date, although no date was announced.
We will add more as information becomes available.
Update: It is being reported that the victim was an off-duty Columbus Division of Fire lieutenant. According to NBC4i.com, "He was resuscitated and is listed in critical condition at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center."