A freshman student was reportedly impaled in the neck by a broken golf club at an Arkansas State University frat house this week in what has been described as a “freak accident.”
According to KARK-TV, 18-year-old Natalie Jo Eaton was at the Kappa Alpha house Tuesday when the incident occurred. Quoting police, the news outlet writes that a young man at the frat house had thrown a football at another man who “was going to use a golf club as a bat to hit the football.”
When the ball hit the club, however, the club broke and flew 30 feet before impaling Eaton in the neck. “Rush" activities had reportedly been taking place at the frat house that day, the outlet reports.
Following the accident, Eaton was rushed to the hospital, where she “remains in critical condition,” WREG‑TV reported Wednesday night.
Makaleigh Riddle, a friend of Eaton’s, told KAIT-TV that despite concerns that the young woman would be paralyzed from the accident, she is now "moving her arms and legs."
"Where the club went in, it hit her spinal cord," Riddle told the news outlet. "The way [doctors] talked about it, it was probably paralysis. That was the best that we were looking at. It was really hard to hear. But now she's moving her arms and legs a day later... That's just crazy. I know people are praying everywhere but that's a miracle. She's the strongest person I've ever met so that doesn't surprise me at all."
Riddle said the man who swung the club was instrumental in keeping the young woman alive. She says he held Eaton's head still for several minutes after the "freak accident" to prevent the club from moving around.
“His quick reaction probably saved her life,” Riddle said.
Arkansas State University Vice Chancellor Rick Stripling issued a statement Tuesday night, saying that "thoughts and prayers" were with Eaton and her loved ones.
“Once you are here at Arkansas State, you are part of the Red Wolves family,” he said.