Windsor girl impaled by sawed-off golf club returns to school

Before a sawed-off golf club became embedded in her skull, Madison Arseneault was a regular Grade 8 girl who loved to bake. Now her life has been changed forever.

After eight months in hospital, the 15-year-old has finally returned home and is back in school for a few hours each day. But doing those normal tasks like baking might be a challenge for the rest of her life.

Arseneault was running at Ford Test Track Park in May 2016 when she fell and was impaled by the golf club. Her lawyer, Jennifer Bezaire, said an investigation has shown park crews were using low lying wires and sawed-off golf clubs to make long, straight chalk lines on the field.

Arseneault, who was 14 at the time, tripped on the wire and fell on the end of one of the clubs, which became embedded in her skull.

Doctors said she won't recover

Arseneault said she can't remember anything about the day of the accident and is only able to attend school for two hours each day due to ongoing cognitive fatigue.

"I get tired really fast and I can't really process all of the information for a long period of time," she explained, adding that doctors said she would never fully recover. "I lost half of my vision and that's never going to come back."

Arseneault said she will probably have to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life, particularly when moving long distances. Although she is happy to be back with her family, coming home came with its own challenges.

"I have to be pushed down the hallway and I bump into things a lot," she said.

Renovations needed

Since returning home, Arseneault hasn't been able to get to her bedroom on the second floor, instead she's sleeping in the family's living room.

"I cry every day," said her mother, Shirley. "It's the hardest thing ... to see your child like that, fighting for her life."

Before she was injured, the family used to bake, crochet and play games together, said Shirley through tears. Although some of those activities aren't possible now, Arseneault's parents said her fighting spirit motivates them every day.

"Although it's a hard struggle — and she is fighting every day and she's in pain every day — she still gets up every morning and does it, so it's promising," said Shirley.

Arseneault has therapy six days each week, but still struggles from paralysis on her left side and experiences pain when stepping.

Trust fund created

The family is asking for community support to renovate their home because it isn't handicap accessible, but her one request is they don't move, so she can stay close to her friends.

Arseneault's parents said they are feeling the financial strain and have already spent $10,000 during the recovery process. The family has set up a trust account at TD Bank in her name, where people can donate.

A lawsuit against the city and school board will be filed in the coming weeks, according to Arseneault's lawyer Jennifer Bezaire.

City solicitor Shelby Askin Hagar said she hopes for the best for Arseneault, but could not comment on pending litigation.