Football Players Struck by Lightning

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More than two dozen players and coaches with the Grapeland High School football team in East Texas were injured tonight when lightning struck near their practice field.

Hospital officials say 24 students ranging in age from 15 to 17 and at least two coaches were being treated at East Texas Medical Center in nearby Crockett.

Their conditions ranged from good to critical. One critical patient was waiting to be transferred to another hospital.

Officials say another student was flown by helicopter to the ETMC in Tyler and was in critical condition.

Hospital spokeswoman Rebecca Berkley says patients are complaining of soreness, abdominal pain and headaches.

Radio station KBHT, which frequently broadcasts games, reports that the lightning strike occurred about 5:30 p.m. as the Grapeland Sandies' practice was winding down.

Police Chief Roger Dickey says there were thunderstorms in nearby towns, but that they hadn't yet reached Grapeland when the strike occurred.

He says coaches and players had no warning.

The District 21-2-A school is 3-0 so far this season.

Grapeland is about 120 miles southeast of Dallas.