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Heart Rate When Struck by Lightning


Heart Rate When Struck by Lightning

A WHOOP member shares the story of being struck by lightning (he’s OK!), and what he saw in his data afterwards.

“I was sitting at the island in my kitchen at 11:02 am on February 23,” Blake Sullivan told us. “I was presenting on a work call at the time. When the lightning struck the house I had my hand on my laptop. I could feel the jolt run up my right arm into my neck and through my legs. It actually wasn’t super painful, it felt maybe twice as strong as an electric fence.” “The unexpected nature of it is what really shook me,” Blake said. “I remember seeing a huge flash of blue light and then jumping to my feet. It took my breath away more than anything, probably because of my heart rate, haha. My head was a bit foggy the rest of the day and I did have some tingling in my hand and neck, but nothing too severe.”  

Heart Rate Data During Lighting Strike

Below is a graph displaying Blake’s heart rate data that morning:

heart rate during lighting strike
Blake's HR shot up after being struck by lightning, and then continued to elevate for several minutes.

At 11:01 that morning, Blake’s heart rate was 72 beats per minute. When the lightning struck at 11:02:44, it immediately jumped to 106 bpm. His HR then continued to rise for the next several minutes as the realization began to set in of what had just happened. It peaked at 141 bpm at 11:08 am, and didn’t return to normal until half an hour later. “The words that came out of my mouth at the time were ‘Holy $#!+ I just got struck by lightning!’ It was definitely an initial jump from the reaction, but then it was hard to catch my breath after that from all the adrenaline,” Blake explained. “My coworkers in the meeting were totally unaware of what happened, they just assumed my internet went out. The lighting immediately shocked the wifi so luckily they didn’t see or hear my reaction.” “My brother and his wife were in the center of the house working in a room with no windows and they saw the blue light flash too,” he added. “They weren’t shocked, but a lot of the electronics in that room and around the house were fried. Surprisingly my computer wasn’t damaged at all though!”  

Sleep and Recovery Afterwards

“We had lightning reports conducted that showed the strike to be within 10 feet of where I was sitting, and the bolt had 19,000 amps,” Blake said. “A 50,000-amp strike was recorded at the same time about 2 miles south, so I think thankfully we just got a finger off of the main bolt.” “I didn’t feel the need to go to a doctor or anything,” Blake told us, “but I did closely monitor my WHOOP data the rest of the day to look for any irregularities. I had some tingling intermittently but no real pain and my data seemed normal.”

blake sullivan wearing whoop
Blake showing off his WHOOP on the golf course (not where he got struck by lightning).

Despite the traumatic event, Blake was still able to get a very solid 7 hours and 43 minutes of sleep that night. And even more impressive, he awoke the next day with an 83% recovery.