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Local man recovering after lawn mower accident
Joyce and John Campbell, who was injured in a lawnmower accident in March, are seen this week at Golden Living Center in Martinsville. John Campbell was released Tuesday after rehabilitation at the center. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Thursday, May 24, 2012
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
John Campbell is improving two months after a riding lawn mower tumbled four feet and landed on his head.
Campbell, 65, was on his riding mower, cutting the grass in the yard of his Collinsville home on March 21.
That is the last thing he remembers.
“We have no idea what happened,” said his wife, Joyce Campbell. Her husband somehow fell off the mower and onto the ground beside a retaining wall that separates his property from a neighbor’s yard.
The lawn mower then tumbled over the retaining wall, “fell four feet and landed onto his head,” Joyce Campbell said.
Henry County Sheriff’s Capt. Ricky Walker said records show the accident occurred around 2:14 p.m. March 21 on Prillaman Drive.
John Campbell was taken to Memorial Hospital in Martinsville, where physicians worked to stabilize him before he was flown to the trauma center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Joyce Campbell said.
He remained there until May 2, when he went to the Golden Living Center in Martinsville for rehabilitation, his wife said.
Therapists Bette Bell and Donna McEwen recalled that when he arrived, Campbell was fed through a feeding tube, and at least two people were needed to move him from his bed to a wheelchair.
Now, Campbell can walk with a walker and eat, and “his sense of humor is still intact,” Bell said. She added that she nicknamed him “Slick” after “he held out till the last minute” and beat her in a game of gin rummy.
Shortly before leaving the center to go home Tuesday, John Campbell said his rehabilitation included walking and working with his hands.
“We haven’t done too much of nothing else,” he said. “I’ve been pretty out of it ... I’m OK most of the time.”
The left side of his skull still is swollen, and he must wear a helmet for protection, according to his wife, who said “he still has some broken bones in his head.”
Joyce Campbell said the couple moved to Collinsville from New York about a year ago because her husband has relatives in the area. His sisters who live here would call them in New York in February to tell them that flowers here were blooming, Joyce Campbell said.
She said their yard in New York was level, in contrast to the hilly terrain of the yard at their new home.
“Of course, if we were still in New York, this wouldn’t have happened,” she said. But, she noted with a sigh, “things happen.”
Joyce Campbell said she is grateful “for all the prayers” after the accident and during her husband’s recovery.
“I think all the churches in Collinsville had him on their prayer lists,” she said.
Friends and family also have helped, as has the staff at the center, Joyce Campbell said.
“We’re going to miss you, John, but we’re glad you’re going home,” McEwen said.
“I’m glad I’m going,” John Campbell said with a chuckle, after promising not to get on a lawn mower at least “for a while.”
Walker said the sheriff’s office is not always summoned to cases involving accidental injuries from power equipment unless hospital personnel think there is some type of malicious intent. As a result, he does not know if injuries from power equipment are common.
Brian Nester, owner of Proco Inc., which sells all types of power equipment, said accidents can occur with various types of power equipment.
It also is difficult to make general statements about safety and power equipment because “every piece of equipment has different characteristics,” Nester said.
However, some basic steps, such as reviewing owner’s manuals and being aware of all the limitations of certain equipment, may help. If equipment is bought used, Nester said, most owner’s manuals are available online.
“Mow when the conditions are favorable — for instance, when the grass is dry as opposed to when wet ... ,” he suggested. Traction is better then, he added.
“Make sure the mower is completely safe. Don’t deactivate or disengage any safety device on a lawnmower (or other equipment),” Nester said. “Don’t add anything to a mower that’s not designed for that mower.”
Routine maintenance also is important, he said, as are frequent rest periods.
“Fatigue plays a big part in people making the right decisions when running power equipment,” Nester said. “Take a break if you’re getting tired or find yourself making simple mistakes.”