Published: Oct 04, 2012 12:00 AM EDT
Updated: Oct 04, 2012 8:53 AM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A middle school student was struck by lightning Wednesday afternoon, on his way to football practice. At last check, Jesse Watlington was listed in critical condition.

It happened near Mcgregor Baptist Church on Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers. The church community is now rallying around him.

It was like any other afternoon for Jesse Watlington and his football teammates at Southwest Florida Christian Academy.
Classes ended, and they headed to practice.

"They were just being released from their classroom setting and grabbing their
practice gear and were making a single file run out to the field," Senior Pastor Dr. Richard Powell said. "It was a completely fine day it wasn't even as overcast as it is now, no hint of any problem, and completely out of the blue, the tragedy happened."

Watlington was struck by lightning. The middle school student was rushed to Gulf Coast Medical Center. A paramedic tells WINK News, through CPR, they were able to bring back a pulse. We heard the sound of relief and applause as the ambulance left, bringing Watlington to HealthPark, where he continues to recover. Powell says he doesn't fault the coaches for what happened.

"There's no issue there. The safety factor is our top priority for all of our student athletes," Powell said.

People from the school and church gathered together Wednesday night for a vigil, praying for a full recovery.

"Just absolute total dependence on the Lord and the faith that somehow, this is going to work out and we are praying hard for a young man and family at the moment," Powell said.