Teen Impaled by Golf Club in Freak Frat Party Accident

ASU student Natalie Jo Eaton awake and responsive in Memphis hospital

By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 26, 2014 4:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – At a cookout Aug.19 during rush at an Arkansas State University frat house, a college kid hit a football, thrown by a friend, with a golf club. The club's shaft broke, traveled 30 feet, and impaled 18-year-old Natalie Jo Eaton in the neck, Arkansas Matters reports. When police got there, the ASU student was on the sidewalk, and two men had been holding her head up and keeping pressure on the wound all the while. "She just went to fall, and he held her head there for a good 15 minutes to keep her in place," Natalie's friend Makaleigh Riddle tells KAIT of her initial rescuer. "If [the club] had moved at all, there was not really anything anyone could have done. His quick reaction probably saved her life."

Eaton is in a Memphis hospital, conscious but confused, and by some miracle, Riddle says, she has feeling on both sides of her body. "Where the club went in, it hit her spinal cord," Riddle says. "The way doctors talked about it, it was probably paralysis. That's the best that we were looking at. … But now she's moving her arms and legs. … She's the strongest person I've ever met so that doesn't surprise me at all." Police say nine people witnessed the event and another person was also injured, but not seriously. College officials are viewing it as an accident and don't expect charges to be filed. (In another tragic accident, a Utah teenager was killed while sunbathing in her driveway.)

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