Farm accident sparked ‘inventive’ new lifestyle

After being involved in an horrific farm accident, Richard Weldon took an ‘inventive’ approach to his limitations – creating a new lifestyle for himself as an inventor and entrepreneur.

He and his brother, Jack, had built up the 50ac of land handed on to them by their father when he retired in 1992, into a 400ac enterprise growing parsnips, cauliflower, cabbage and kale.

“We were supplying over 600 shops and every supermarket bar Tesco. We had 28 full-time staff,” he said.

“I worked from 4:00am to 10:00pm; I was always working but I loved it.”

The accident

The relentless pace continued until the day of his accident – November 12, 2011 – when he became entangled in a parsnip harvester.

Our mechanic was on a week’s holidays and I tried to fix the harvester myself at 4:30am. My left arm was twisted around in a circle from the elbow down. I was there for 18 minutes on my own until my screams were heard and it took three hours to get me out.

After being rushed to hospital, he was told that the tendons in his arm had become separated. The lack of circulation for those critical 18 minutes resulted in him losing power in the arm.

“I had a couple of operations and I was in and out of hospital for six months,” he said.

He tried to persist with farming, but found the going tough. Workmen were unable to keep up with his punishing schedule and his injury restricted what he could do.

“Also, I wasn’t well in myself; I couldn’t accept what had happened and those 18 minutes I was on my own had a big effect on me,” he added.

An idea

Following two testing years, the brothers took the decision to let out the land. Richard and his wife, Philomena, later relocated to her home place in Threecastles, Co. Kilkenny.

After undergoing physiotherapy sessions and taking walks on his neighbour’s farm, he came up with an inventive idea for a flexible exercise tool. The ProFitstick is described as the next generation of portable crossover training equipment.

Having done extensive research, design and product development in conjunction with the local enterprise office in Kilkenny, and Carlow IT, he launched ProFitstick in November 2016.

The inventive piece of kit can be adapted for use from warm-up through to a full workout, or as an adjunct to rehab from sports injury. It is also suitable for use in golf and soccer, he said.

This was followed by the launch of another inventive product – sports massage tool, ProFitstick Massage – which has an integrated massage roller, in July 2017.

Now Richard is looking for an investor to bring the products to the next level.

“I can’t go any further until I get someone with experience to develop the business,” he said. “I find it very easy to invent and design equipment but I need someone with experience to come on board and I would gladly work for them,” he said.