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Why You Should Be Careful Playing Games In A Lightning Storm

A man in Robertson County, Tennessee, was struck by lightning while playing video games. As WKRN reports, the man was not standing outside of his home holding a Wiimote in the air like a modern-day Ben Franklin. He was actually inside of his home during the lightning storm. However, he was struck by lightning through his controller.

According to WKRN, the man was struck through his controller. WKRN followed up with local services, which believe either the man's house was struck by lightning or lightning struck nearby, giving him a shock through the controller. The National Weather Service of Kansas City also picked up the story, adding that, "For situational awareness, next time there is frequent lightning in the area, playing video games isn't the safest option when waiting out the storm."

While playing video games might seem like a good activity during a storm, since it doesn't involve leaving the house, you might be risking an electric shock by doing so. The man did not suffer any serious injuries and did not need to be transported to the hospital. It is unclear if the man was using a wireless controller or a wired one, but regardless this isn't the first time lightning has struck an unsuspecting gamer.

Lightning versus gamers

While getting struck by lightning twice is a once-in-a-million occurrence, apparently getting shocked through your controller is not. Just last year, professional "Rocket League" player Karma was reportedly shocked through her controller during a storm. Karma shared the news in a tweet, saying, "Actually I think I just got struck by lightning thru my controller."

Karma was not as lucky as the man from Kansas however. She suffered from burns on her hands and a broken controller. While these are very rare events, these things can happen during lightning storms, even with wireless controllers. In the case of the shocked gamer in Tennessee, the NWS Kansas City said on Twitter, "It wasn't specified what console they were using. Lightning doesn't need a physical connection to an object to strike." So wired or wireless, playing games indoors during a lightning storm does run the risk of getting you struck by lightning or at least shocked by it.

The NWS Kansas City followed up by saying that it's not recommended to handle anything electrical during a lightning storm, since it could lead to you being shocked by proxy. While that is just a recommendation, maybe put down the controller the next time you experience a storm and grab a book or something else non-electronic. Or you could use something non-electronic as a controller, like a banana.