February 24, 2024
The first day of college can be a daunting experience for some, but for Emma Eggler, it was shocking.

The first day of college can be a daunting experience for some, but for Emma Eggler, it was shocking.

Eggler, 18, was walking on campus on her first day of classes at the University of West Florida on Monday when she was swept off her feet and struck by lightning.


“I didn’t realize that I had been struck by lightning,” Eggler recalled to WKRG. “I was more embarrassed because I thought I tripped and fell on the ground. Then, I realized I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t do anything.”

Students darted toward Eggler to tend to her injuries as they waited for first responders to arrive, her mother recalled in a Facebook post. One of the students, a boy, “gave her his shirt off his back” because hers was ripped in half, and another called 911, she added.

Eggler lost feeling in her legs after the strike and suffered multiple burns, including on her arm and neck, which was affected by a necklace that “got some of the action,” according to her mother. The powerful lightning bolt melted her shirt to her chest and moved through her body, exiting her left foot, leaving scorch marks and a hole in her sock and shoe, according to her mother.

“I was able to get my backpack off but I couldn’t feel my legs at all and I was scared I was paralyzed and I was really panicking,” Eggler recalled to WEAR-TV.

Luckily, the bolt didn’t permanently stop Eggler’s heart, and now, she is feeling lucky to be alive.

“Our baby is alive by the grace of God. I’m not kidding when I say it’s a miracle. The doctors have said she’s lucky to be alive,” her mother wrote in a Facebook post.

Eggler’s mother noted in an Aug. 17 Facebook post that her daughter had always dreamed of living on the beach and was excited about attending college in the Sunshine State.

“She’s exceeded all our expectations and I know she’s ready to branch out and spread her wings,” her mother said. “And of course, daddy had to buy her gas one last time. She’s always dreamed of living at the beach and that gets to be her reality for the next four years.”


Since getting struck, Eggler has regained feeling and functionality in her legs and has been released from the hospital, hoping to head back to classes next week. She was taken to Ascension Sacred Heart for treatment before moving to the University of Alabama Hospital, according to the outlet. Eggler is an Alabama native.

“For now she’s discharged home and doing ok,” her mother wrote in a post. “If all goes as planned she’ll follow up with the burn clinic Monday and then go back to West Florida on Tuesday. If you don’t believe in miracles talk to this child. You might change your mind.”

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