Mother of injured teen warns of the dangers of fireworks

Michael Samuels describes injury from fireworks
Michael Samuels describes injury from fireworks

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The sparkle of fireworks is pretty, but there's a dark side to the lights.

Tarsha McAllister and her son, Michael, know from experience.

New Years Day at a family gathering the 15-year-old attempted to re-position a lit cherry bomb that was leaning.

"As soon as he went down to pick it up it just went boom!" said McAllister.

"When it exploded, It just went and hit me in my eye," said Michael Samuels.

The impact shattered his glasses.

"When he came to me I saw the blood," said his mother. "Blood was just dripping everywhere."

EMS rushed him to the hospital.

McAllister said doctors replaced the cornea in her son's right eye and removed pieces of his glasses that got stuck inside.

"Fireworks they so beautiful," she said. "You know and you'd never know the extent that they can do so much damage."

"So much of what we see is preventable," said Dr. Elizabeth Mack, who is a pediatrician with Palmetto Health.

Mack says children are at greater risk for fireworks injury. Burns and bruises due to carelessness or lack of adult supervision.

"They definitely can lose their life," said Mack. "About 3,000 children a year are injured from fireworks."

Injuries Michael said have had lasting effects. He's lost 25% of the sight in his right eye.

"I can't play any sports activity," he said. "I can't go swimming."

Now six months later Tarsha says he still has more surgeries to undergo.  She hopes everyone will learn a lesson from his story.

"Please please use precaution with fireworks," she said. "They are nothing to play with. We'll be onlookers now. From a distance."

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