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Girl, 14, in critical condition after skull impaled by golf club in gym class

National Post National Post 2/06/2016 Dave Battagello, Postmedia News
Madison-jpeg.jpeg: WINDSOR STAR © WINDSOR STAR WINDSOR STAR

WINDSOR, Ont. — A 14-year-old Windsor girl is in critical condition and her family is seeking answers after a golf club punctured her skull during a physical education class.

Madison Arseneault was running with her Gordon McGregor Public School gym class at the city-operated Ford Test Track park on May 25 when she fell on a sawed-off golf club that punctured and fractured the back of her skull, according to a lawyer representing her family.

The teen tripped on a wire that was strung from the golf club to assist in marking chalk lines on a soccer field, said lawyer Jennifer Bezaire.

With the club still impaled in her head, Arseneault was rushed to Windsor Regional Hospital and later transferred to the pediatric critical-care unit of Victoria Hospital in London, Ont.

Early investigations suggest city workers had been using sawed-off golf clubs stuck in the ground with low-hanging wire connected to each one to mark long straight chalk lines on the grass infield, Bezaire said.

City officials confirmed the incident.

“Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the girl and family, but because of litigation we won’t be saying anything further,” said spokesman Jason Moore.

Arseneault is awake, but heavily medicated in hospital, Bezaire said.

“Madison’s family is devastated and has been at her bedside around the clock since this horrible incident occurred,” she said. “They want to know what happened, but right now their priority is Madison’s well-being.”

How much the girl will recover is unknown, but she is likely to need “extensive rehabilitation” and may be facing some paralysis given the golf club entered her brain, Bezaire said.

“It’s just a horrible accident. The parents are looking for answers on what happened and how the golf clubs came to be in the grass,” she said.

A spokesman for the Greater Essex County District School Board said Wednesday he could not say much at this point about the accident.

“Due to privacy regulations, we can’t comment on any incident or situation involving a student,” Scott Scantlebury said.

He said the board’s insurance provider has been contacted and is handling the situation, along with a board superintendent responsible for the school.

Many of the public board’s schools use the Ford Test Track and other municipal parks for physical education classes and other recreational activities, Scantlebury said. The 24-hectare Ford Test Track, a major venue for local sports activities, was the original test track facility for the Ford Motor Company of Canada. Ford has leased the park to the City of Windsor since 1979.

Scantlebury would not say much about the effect Arseneault’s accident has had on students and staff at Gordon McGregor, other than “obviously this has had an impact on the school community.”

Social services workers are available to anyone at the school who needs them, he said.

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