On April 19th - a date he’ll never forget - Seán was rushing around after lambing 500 ewes and he was trying to spread fertiliser; he was running behind.
The farmer was being helped by a family member, who he asked to “roll down a bale of hay,” from a four-high stack of round bales.
Seán entered the shed with the tractor and spinner attached behind to fill with fertiliser. The sheep farmer saw his family member coming along the top of the bales and tried to shout at him to stop where he was, as there were a ewe and two lambs in a pen underneath.
Unfortunately, Seán’s calls could not be heard over the noise of the tractor.
Unfortunately, he got out of the tractor to move the animals out of the pen, but as he did, the bale came down from the stack above.
“Only for the ground was soft underneath, I think I would probably be killed,” said Seán.
He tried to get up after the impact but was unable to move. He received horrific injuries including; a broken rib cage on either side from the hip, there was muscle damage to his neck and he spent fourteen months on crutches.
Seán’s hip didn’t knit, due to damaged veins; after fourteen months, he received a bone graft. “I spent three years in agony before I got the artificial hip” he explained.
He spent thirteen ‘good years’ with the new hip until a dog hit into him and loosened the stem that was going into his leg.
Seán was seen by Mr Fenelon at Blackrock Clinic, who completed a reconstruction of the hip. He spent twenty years seeing doctors, having operations and being “In misery and agony all the time.”
The farmer now looks back at that day and said that he wished that he had stopped to see if the relative was coming with the bale or not. The relative has felt guilty about what happened, but Seán is adamant that it was not his fault.
The accident had a big impact on the Seán and his family both mentally and physically. There was a lot of expenses hiring contractors, but he does add that his neighbours were very good.
It’s a frightening thing to think about, that you could have been crushed to death over your own carelessness,” he reflected.
“Over not stopping to think for thirty seconds, I lost the best years of my life,” he warned.
The message that Seán is trying to convey is to just stop and think, as it might just save your life.