JONESBORO, Ark. – An Arkansas State University freshman was severely injured when she was impaled by a golf club at a fraternity house.
The first year of college is usually an exciting time for students, their friends and family.
However, that was not the case for the start of the school year for one Arkansas State University.
“It was a freak accident, which is basically the only way to describe it,” said Makaleigh Riddle.
Authorities say 18-year-old Natalie Eaton was at the Kappa Alpha house when a 20-year-old man used a golf club as a bat to hit a football.
When the club hit the ball, the shaft broke and impaled Eaton in the neck.
When police arrived, she was lying on the sidewalk and two men were holding her head up, applying pressure to the wound.
“They just said, ‘Pray for her. We don’t know what’s happening,” said Riddle.
Paramedics flew Eaton to Memphis for treatment.
“The doctor took us in a room, he said family but there was probably 30 of us there. We were like, ‘We’re all family, it’s okay,” said Riddle.
The doctors told them they have never seen anything like this before.
Surgeons were able to remove the club from her neck but it nicked an artery and hit her spinal chord.
“The way he talked about it, it was probably paralysis. That’s the best that we were looking at,” said Riddle.
Less than a day later, Riddle says her friend could make little movements with the left side of her body.
“I don’t know. That’s just crazy. I know people are praying everywhere but that’s a miracle,” she said.
She says that while Eaton is recovering, the man who hit the football with the club feels responsible for the accident.
“I feel terrible for him and his family. That’s going to be really hard to deal with,” she said.