We hadn’t really noticed that Hannah Storm wasn’t at work on ESPN the last three weeks, the rotating cast of SportsCenter anchors being so large and all. But earlier today news broke that Hannah Storm was returning from her absence, and the reason for her three-week leave is nothing short of terrifying.
On December 11th, a propane gas grill at her home exploded right in front of her, and she lost her eyebrows, eyelashes, half her hair, suffered first degree burns on her face and neck and second degree burns on her chest and hands.
The horrifying details, via the Associated Press:
“The award-winning sportscaster and producer was preparing dinner outside her home in Connecticut on the night of Dec. 11 when she noticed the flame on the grill had gone out. She turned off the gas and when she reignited it ‘there was an explosion and a wall of fire came at me.’
‘It was like you see in a movie, it happened in a split-second,’ she said. ‘A neighbor said he thought a tree had fallen through the roof, it was that loud. It blew the doors off the grill.’
With her left hand, she tore off her burning shirt. She tried to use another part of her shirt to extinguish the flames that engulfed her head and chest, while yelling for help. Her 15-year-old daughter, Hannah, called 911 and a computer technician who was working in the house grabbed some ice as Storm tried to cool the burns.”
Storm, for her part, is taking it all pretty well:
“Storm was taken by ambulance to the Trauma and Burn Center at Westchester Medical Center and was treated for 24 hours.
‘I didn’t see my face until the next day and you wonder how it’s going to look,’ she said. ‘I was pretty shocked. But my overarching thought was I’ve covered events with military members who have been through a lot worse than me, and they’ve come through. I kept thinking, ‘I can do this. I’m fortunate.'”
Storm plans to be back on SportsCenter on Sunday, and will be hosting ABC’s Tuesday telecast of the 2013 Rose Parade with a bandage on her left hand. And as she herself notes, we might notice some awkward hair extensions. Which, all in all, isn’t the worst thing.