A Meath teenager hasn’t let an accident involving a mower when he was just two-years of age, dim his love of farming or football.

Jack Douglas (16) from Moynalvey, Summerhill, is son of farming contractor Lyndon Douglas. He will represent Ireland at the European Amputee Football Federation Junior Cup in Poland in July.

Jack is also planning ahead on the farming side.

“I intend to go to Kildalton agricultural college after my Leaving Cert and get my Green Cert,” said the fifth year student in Boyne Community School, Trim.

“We provide services such as baling and wrapping, slurry spreading and hedge cutting. We also farm suckler cattle,” he said.

“I always had a passion for machinery. I spent my childhood as a carpet farmer and collecting model tractors, mainly John Deeres.”

Mower accident

While he can’t remember the accident, which happened on June 26, 2007, his mother, Siobhan, can recall every stark detail.

“Lyndon was cutting the grass. Myself and our daughter Abbie, who was five at the time, were moving garden furniture onto a patio that we had just got laid,” she said.

“Jack, we thought, at this time was in the house with his granny, who lived with us.

“Lyndon was mowing around trees that were planted at the end of the garden. Next thing I heard was the mower making a funny noise and Lyndon shouting. I automatically thought that as usual, Jack had left one of his model tractors on the lawn and Lyndon had driven over it,” Siobhan said.

Mower accident

“I walked over to the mower and saw Lyndon behind it with Jack on the ground. Lyndon had a penknife and was trying to release Jack’s jeans from the mower. The box on the back was higher than Jack. I ran to the house and rang for an ambulance,” she recalled.

“I got towels and Lyndon wrapped them around Jack’s legs to try stop the bleeding while we waited for emergency services. When they arrived they picked up Jack and Lyndon went in the ambulance with him and I followed.

“We got to Connolly hospital in Blanchardstown and they worked on him in there so he would make it to Temple Street.

“A team of doctors went in the ambulance with Jack from Connolly Hospital to Temple Street and the Garda from Blanchardstown station escorted the ambulance and came back to collect myself and Lyndon to get us to the hospital as soon as possible.

“When we got there we were told that things were not looking too good. Jack had severe injuries to both legs and the blades had tore his groin and tummy. He was resuscitated in Connolly Hospital and it was unclear what would happen when they opened the bandages.

“He had lost a severe amount of blood. We were told to expect the worst, to go into see him and say what we wanted to say to him before they took him to theatre. I remember singing ‘You are my Sunshine’ to him.

“Then we waited and waited. After a few hours we were asked to sign consent forms for amputation of one or both legs because it was looking like that’s what would have to be done to save him.

“I pleaded with them to keep him alive. I didn’t care about legs but just wanted him alive and that’s what they did,” said Siobhan.

Eight years of surgery

“Jack had eight years of surgery and then it was suggested to us that we ask for a second opinion on his treatment plan. When we did, amputation was the suggestion that seemed the best solution to Jack’s problem with his leg,” Siobhan continued.

“It was an extremely tough decision. We looked at every option but the damage to his knee was too bad. He had been through so much and missed out on so much, we knew it had to be done.

“Jack spent his days going in the tractor with his dad. He spent his days in hospital looking at machinery catalogues and tractor DVDs. He still loves tractors, always will.

“Ironically, it was a John Deere lawn mower that was involved in the accident and it’s John Deere he loves,” said Siobhan.

“When the decision was made for amputation of Jack’s right leg, we were put in touch with a couple of families whose kids had an amputation. These boys played soccer with the Irish Amputee Football Association and asked Jack if he would come to see them train after his operation, which he did.”

Mower accident

“He fell in love with it and has played with them as a midfielder or striker ever since. He has now moved from the junior academy and is part of the senior international team and plays for Bohemian’s amputee team,” said Siobhan.


Soccer has seen Jack, who normally wears a prosthetic leg, represent his country in countries such as Poland, Germany and Italy. While he revels in the chance to travel, the teen who has been hailed an inspiration for his can-do attitude, also relishes farm life.

“Jack plays a big role on the farm. He feeds the cattle, helps out when cows are calving. He was hedge cutting the land this weekend. He is machinery mad, happy when he’s in a tractor,” said Siobhan.

“This silage season he will be helping out with the contracting. He was always in the tractor with his dad when he was growing up. He is always down in the shed doing something with a tractor, changing lights, washing them, putting stickers on them.

“His dad has started to show him the running of the business and he now helps out with the invoicing and he does all the computer work for the cattle,” she said.

“Jack has a very positive attitude, the only thing he says he can’t do is his homework.
Farming is hard work but along with football and the Irish Amputee Football Association, it has helped him to be the person he is.”