Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 22 July 2017

Farmer speaks openly about being paralysed in horrific farm accident at 18

'It was such a simple accident: Now I have no feeling from my shoulders down'

Stephen Cluskey
Stephen Cluskey
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

“It was such a simple accident”, according to Stephen Cluskey, talking about the accident that left him paralysed from the neck down at just 18.

Cluskey who grew up on a farm in north County Dublin said he was like most other 18 year olds and thought he was ‘invincible'.

“I thought this was something that happens to other people.

“It’s something that I’d give anything to go back and change that split second.

“Little did I know that that night, August 4 due to a hay bale I’d be in the back of an ambulance on the way to the Mater Hospital after suffering a life-changing injury,” he said.

Cluskey was just going into sixth year in Belvedere College and got a call from some friends to see if he wanted to go camping that night.

“We set the tents up in a field which was full of hay bales.

“One thing led to another - I was messing about on top of a hay bale and someone was pushing it. I fell from the hay bale.


“But it wasn't the fall that did the damage. I went to get up out of the way and the hay bale was still rolling caught the back of my head and pushed it forward and broke my neck.

“I knew straight away that something was wrong. It was like an electric shock went trough my body and everything just went dead, he said.

“I asked one of my friends to lift my hand.

“So he lifted my arm and I saw this arm in front of my face and I didn’t realise it was my hand and when he let go it just dropped and I knew something was serious.”

Cluskey spent the next three weeks in the Mater Hospital and was told he had broken his neck and damaged my spinal cord.

“I lost all movement from my shoulders down.

“It’s amazing how a split second can change a life.

“Farm safety is something which needs to be taking more seriously

“It was one hay bale I had fallen off and the damage and consequences on my life has been incomprehensible.

“There are so many hidden dangers on a farm that people don’t realise and have the potential to change there lives,” he said.

Cluskey made the comments in an educational film, made by Roscommon CBS transition year students and their ag science teacher.

The film, which launched recently and took over a year to complete, also tells the story of 15-year-old James Mooney, a student at Roscommon CBS, whose knee was broken after a ewe charged at him last summer.

Roscommon CBS teacher, Louise Gallagher, urges all schools, particularly in rural areas, to show the video to science students.

"If it encourages just one person to change a habit that's what matters to us. The response has gone way beyond the classroom and we're incredibly grateful to everyone involved," she said.

Check out 'CBS Roscommon Farm Safely' on YouTube today.


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