Teen impaled by golf club walks again, defying doctors' predictions
Madison Arseneault was running at a Windsor city park during gym class before golf club penetrated her skull
Madison Arseneault is defying doctors' predictions that she'd never walk again after being impaled by a sawed-off golf club, but there's still a lifelong journey of recovery ahead.
The Windsor, Ont., 16-year-old is now able to walk short distances on her own, despite partial paralysis. Physicians expected she'd be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
"I've just kind of been working hard and focusing on my goal of trying to be back to normal as much as possible," said Arseneault, who surprised even herself after thinking she'd never walk again.
"A lot of the doctors, especially at the beginning, were really negative."
Still deals with paralysis
Arseneault's left side is still numb. She wears a brace to help support the leg she can't feel. With each step she takes, she's using muscle memory to remember how to walk and "trust that the ground is there."
Her vision is also a bit blurred, with the left side of both eyes not working.
"It's like she was cut in half and she doesn't have any feeling on that whole entire side of her body," said the girl's mother Shirley Arseneault.
The Arseneault family's life was turned upside in May 2016. Madison was running along the Ford Test Track as a part of her nearby school's gym class. She then suddenly left the track, fell, and had a sawed-off golf club jab her in the head.
City crews had put the golf club in the ground, with string tied to it, as they painted lines on the soccer field.
It really remains to be seen what the future will hold for her.- Jennifer Bezaire, Madison's lawyer
Even though she's made some strides, Madison still spends more time in her wheelchair — or with her cane — than she does on her own two feet.
"Mostly pain and the annoyance [due to] the fact that my arm doesn't work properly or my leg doesn't do what I want it to do," she said. "A lot of nerve pain that I tell the doctors about … they say, 'Well, we don't know, because it's a brain injury, it's hard to figure out."
Each day of the week Madison has some sort of therapy, whether it's visual, occupation, physical, massage and social work.
"It really remains to be seen what the future will hold for her," said lawyer Jennifer Bezaire.
She also goes to school part-time and hopes to graduate with her peers. And she's been able to keep her passion to bake and cook, while regaining some mobility in her left hand.
"I figured out a lot of tricks myself," she said with a smile. "I learned how to crack an egg with one hand."
At home, Madison sleeps in the living room, because she can't get upstairs to her bed.
Hopes to get driver's licence
To help, construction crews are donating their time and supplies to renovate the family home next month. The entire first floor is being transformed to include Madison's own bedroom and an accessible bathroom. Project managers are still looking for contractors and labourers to help. Anyone interested in lending a hand or donating supplies can call 519-728-3664.
Many of Madison's ambitions are what most of us take for granted: being able to walk without assistance, and having more mobility.
She also hopes to get her full vision back and one day be a fully licensed driver.
"I try to just go with the flow, but sometimes it gets hard. I try to stay positive."