DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Issiah Evans, 16, a football standout at Trotwood High School, lost his hand in a firework accident last year.

While he is overcoming that adversity, he is urging others to learn from his experience and take warnings about fireworks dangers seriously.

July 5, 2022, was the night everything changed for Issiah. He and his friends were participating in Fourth of July activities in Dayton. Issiah tried to light an “onion”, which is a massive firework.

The firework wouldn’t light at first. Then, in a split second, the firework exploded, and Issiah’s entire life flashed before his eyes.

“When everything started clearing up, I felt like I was on fire,” he said. “When I got to patting my body down, my arm got to sticking to my shirt I looked down like oh snap.”

One of his hands had been blown off by the firework, and he suffered severe burns. He was rushed to the hospital to be treated for his injuries.

“I blew a hole in this hand, and in the hospital, I thought I lost my thumb at first,” he said. “So yeah, I suffered a lot of injuries.”

In both the city of Trotwood and Dayton, ordinances are in place prohibiting the use of fireworks, despite new statewide changes. Dayton Fire Captain Brad French said he strongly suggests leaving fireworks to the professionals.

“Several important things to remember about fireworks or even the ones that seem safe aren’t always necessarily safe,” French said. “Sparklers seem very innocent and seem like a lot of fun, and people forget that sparklers burn very, very hot and can create burn injuries when it comes to fireworks in the city of Dayton. Despite recent legislative changes at the state level, fireworks are still illegal in the city.”

As for Issiah, he has spent the past year recovering and re-learning football and all the things he loves. Through it all, Issiah has kept his head high and received lots of support from friends, family and coaches.

His message moving forward is simple.

“I think by me playing football, I like can show everybody that it’s possible to keep going,” he said. “When a little adversity hit, keep going.”