‘She is a miracle:’ Woman struck by lightning at Country Thunder out of hospital, on long road to recovery

Brittney Prehn

KENOSHA COUNTY -- A young woman was struck by lightning at the Twin Lakes music festival, Country Thunder. Now, her mother is telling the story of her daughter's road to recovery for the first time.

Brittney Prehn was alone and didn't have an ID on her when she was struck by lightning on July 19. It was strangers who found her unresponsive and called 911. The next morning, her mom learned the news and rushed to the hospital -- unsure if her daughter would even still be alive when she arrived.

One week after being struck, Lisa Prehn says her daughter is already out of the hospital.

"All we can say is that she is definitely a miracle," said Prehn.

Country Thunder

Brittney Prehn

The right side of Brittney's face is paralyzed, there is swelling in her brain and she has permanent hearing loss. The most difficult part, Lisa says the 22-year-old's essence has changed.

"Personality-wise she's there. Emotions aren't shown like they used to be. I don't know how to explain. It's very hard. We hope, but we aren't sure she'll ever be 100 percent Brittney again," said Prehn.

On July 19, the final concert had wrapped up for Country Thunder's opening day. Brittney was camping with friends but had gotten separated. As she was walking alone through the miller campground, while talking on the phone, lightning entered her body above her right ear and exited through her toes. Lisa says the bolt missed all of her daughter's major organs.

Woman struck by lightning at Country Thunder

"Her heart rate never changed rhythms. She never stopped breathing, and that's unheard of," Prehn said.

Brittney Prehn

The Woodstock, Illinois family is still processing everything that's happened. With several doctor's appointments, surgeries and therapy to go, Lisa says it's hard to know what the long-term impact will be. For now, they're focusing on the positives; Brittney is alive and making strides every day.

"Nobody really knows because she's such a rare case. She has hurdles to get over and has a long road of this for recovery. But where she's at now is amazing," said Prehn.

Brittney Prehn

Brittney Prehn

Lisa says Brittney is able to communicate by writing on whiteboards and is learning sign language. They're hoping at least some of her hearing comes back eventually. She can also walk a little, with help.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help with Brittney's recovery.