Texas pro basketball player burns hand when cellphone explodes

Credit: David Becker

Credit: David Becker

A professional basketball player in Texas is off the court after his cellphone exploded in his hand, burning him.

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Khouraichi Thiam, 31, told WFAA-TV he was in a car with friends May 15 when his LG K20 Plus suddenly exploded in his right hand.

"It just blew up," he said. "It exploded. The driver, who is my friend, was screaming. We all were screaming. I thought I was going to die."

Thiam, who stands 6 feet, 8 inches tall, has played professional basketball around the world, including for the national team of his home country, Senegal. He now lives in the Dallas suburb of Plano. The guard and forward was planning on trying out for the NBA summer league, but now that may not happen.

During the explosion, battery acid spewed onto Thiam's right hand. He suffered second-degree burns and said he can't move his thumb, his index finger or his middle finger. Parts of his hand are also numb, suggesting he suffered nerve damage.

His hand is expected to stay in a sling and brace for at least four weeks, Thiam said.

Many cellphone explosions have been linked to phones with lithium ion batteries, WFAA reported.

LG spokesman Frank Lee told WFAA in a written statement Thursday that the company didn’t know of Thiam’s case until the news station contacted it.

"It is regrettable that this gentleman had this experience … Our team would like to be introduced to the consumer so we can take the appropriate steps and also have our safety engineers examine the device," Lee said.

Thiam said he may take LG up on the offer.

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