When Islander Jamie Thompson pulled up in his golf cart at the Prince Edward Island truck and tractor pull championships in Crapaud on Saturday (Aug. 4), it was hard to tell that he had even suffered from severe injuries after an accident on a farm in Victoria.
© (Photo: Brian McInnis/The Guardian)
Jamie Thompson sits in his wheelchair beside the tractor he will soon climb up into and take it to the track to pull thousands of pounds of weights during the truck and tractor pull in Crapaud, Prince Edward Island Aug. 4.
Thompson, who has been participating in the tractor pulls for over 18 years, is also the co-chair of the event. On June 24, 2005, he was working and unloading his tractor from his truck when he was forced to jump out of the tractor and was severely crushed.
He was driving the tractor off of the trailer and the tractor went up into a “wheely” position. He had to jump out and ended up landing on the truck and was crushed by the tractor.
“My spine and spinal cord was never damaged, I had all nerve damage. I don't drive my tractor at all, I drive one of my friends now because it has a cab,”
Thompson said. Although he spent nearly six months in a hospital in Halifax recovering, and in intensive care for 11 weeks, he has not let his accident discourage him. He continues to work at the farm and to participate in the annual tractor pulls when he can.
“This is something people do simply for the enjoyment of it, even today, my friend will let me drive but I don't want to, because I would be taking away his turn,” Thompson said as tractors blew black smoke several feet in the air as they pulled down the track.
Thompson said he has adapted to his environment. His environment has changed because he can no longer walk, he is in a wheelchair, but he found ways to work around his challenges. Not only were his legs badly injured and his pelvis crushed, but also his trachea was damaged and he could not breath properly.
He was put on dialysis and had to get blood transfusions. He broke four ribs and his arm was badly broken. He had to get a plate put in his arm from his wrist to his elbow; all of his nerves were damaged in his hands.
“I jumped and I ended up by a steel plate by the wheels. My arm hit that edge and it snapped just like that. I remember everything up until they put the IV in me at the hospital. You hear these stories, and you question some of the stuff, when I was laying there and couldn't breath, everything went gray and I couldn't hear my friend Jason yelling at me, I could only see his mouth moving.”
“I don't care if you’re a skunk or a raccoon, you will adapt no matter what happens, yes it is hard and I do need assistance, and getting into the tractor is a whole other story” he said.
Because he kept his hopes up and decided to go back to work once he recovered, he was able to get back into the tractor. He said it was difficult adjusting, but he was very fortunate to have support from his family and friends.
“There was never a day that went by that I thought I wouldn't keep farming, for some reason I told myself that I am going to do this, I’m a believer in if there is a will there is a way. Everybody looks at things differently, and when I wake up in the morning and look at my wheelchair, its not a bad thing to me,” he said proudly.
The annual truck and tractor pull event is held on the exhibition grounds in Crapaud and competitors from all over Canada travel to the Island to participate in the two days of high quality pulling. There is over $20,000 in prize money and the categories vary from pro-stock to modified tractors.