Kerrie Leonard, Culmellen, Co. Meath was just six-years-old when her life changed forever.
Kerrie – who was a keen farming enthusiast from a young age - used to sit on her father’s lap in the cap of a tractor and pretend she was driving.
On May 1st 1997, a contractor working on the farm allowed her to sit in the cab as normal.
“I was sitting on the hub cap of the wheel inside the cab of the tractor. There was no door on the tractor cab; I lost my grip and I fell from the tractor.” Kerrie explained in a video produced by the Health and Safety Authority.
“Because he thought I was in front of the tractor, he reversed. I just remember the wheel going over me, across my midriff.” She explained.
After the accident
Kerrie was brought to her uncle’s house and she recalls seeing her arm, which had been split open from her shoulder socket.
She could walk for about twenty-four hours after the accident but assumes that the adrenaline wore off as she was left paralysed.
Kerrie spent eight-weeks in Crumlin’s Children Hospital and a further eight weeks at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire.
“When you are a child dealing with disability is fine; it is only when you start getting into your teenage years that you start seeing something different.”
Kerrie had an operation on her back when she was 16-year-old; she had to re-learn all the skills and was completely dependent on other people.
“I like to be as independent as I can be and to have that taken away from you and have somebody else have to do it for you, is very frustrating.”
Kerrie’s message for parents is to be aware of all the dangers on the farm.“You can quite easily take it for granted that what you have done one hundred times will work out.”
“It’s to think about that one time that something might go wrong – what happens then?!
“You need to be observant of that as possible to make sure that your child is as safe as possible on the farm,” Kerrie concluded.
Image source: HSA