UPDATE: ASU freshman still in critical but improving after freak accident

MEMPHIS (KATV) - Doctors have renewed hope for Natalie Jo Eaton, the Arkansas State University freshman impaled by a broken golf club in a freak accident. The 18 year-old originally, from Harrisburg, is still in critical condition, but improving.

"The way he talked about it, it was probably paralysis, I mean that was the best that we were looking at," said Makaleigh Riddle, Eaton's best friend, commenting on what doctors had told her and family.

But doctors at Regional One Medical Center in Memphis, where Eaton is receiving treatment, are hopeful her spine is simply in shock and once out of shock that she'll be able to move it again.

The ASU freshman was impaled in the neck by a golf club at the Kappa Alpha fraternity house in Jonesboro, Tuesday night. Witnesses say a 20 year-old fraternity member was using a golf club like a baseball bat to hit a football another 19 year-old fraternity member was throwing toward him. When the club hit the ball, the club broke in half, sending part of it flying 30 feet and hitting Eaton in the neck hitting part of her spine and nicked an artery.

"It was a freak accident, which is basically the only way to describe it," said Riddle.

Late Wednesday, Riddle mentioned Eaton had finally gained feeling back in both sides of her body, something Riddle calls, "a miracle."

And Thursday afternoon, doctors said the teen was more awake and responsive, but extremely confused and doesn't remember a thing.

That's a different story for the 20 year-old fraternity member who feels he's responsible for the accident. Riddle claims this will be just as difficult for him to deal with as it is for her, but claims it was him who may have been her saving grace.

"He held her head there for a good 15 minutes to keep her still and keep it in place," said Riddle. "His quick reactions probably saved her life, so he had to be really strong for that. I can't imagine."

Despite hope for a positive outcome, it's still a long road to a full recovery for Natalie Eaton.

"We're just hoping and praying everything will be okay," said Riddle.

According to KAIT, ASU Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Rick Stripling said he does not expect anyone to face any charges.

"At this point, we see it as an incident we respond to and a tragedy," Stripling said. "We don't see any harm or foul at this point of any sort."