Brain Injury Forces Tough Decision
Todd Neeley DTN Staff Reporter
Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:39 AM CDT
(Page 1 of 3)

OMAHA (DTN) -- John Moore's family is leaving their Manhattan, Illinois, farm -- not an easy decision for a farmstead that dates back to 1926.

Aaron Moore (left) and his father John at the family's Manhattan, Illinois, farm. (Photo Courtesy of Aaron Moore)

The farm economy is tough, but there's so much more behind the family putting their farm up for sale.

The family's succession plan was wiped away on a cold December day last year when John's 28-year-old son Aaron suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a farm accident.

As the family learned the tough way, agriculture remains among the most dangerous industries.

While it is difficult to determine accurate national statistics for farm accident injuries and fatalities, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has reported between 2003 and 2011 more than 5,800 agriculture workers were killed in the United States. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in 2012 stated that every day about 170 agricultural workers suffer lost work time due to an injury. Meanwhile, OSHA said that each day more than 240 agriculture workers have what OSHA calls a "serious lost-work-time injury." Five percent of those injuries lead to permanent impairment, NIOSH stated on its website.

In Aaron's case, he is alive. That's the only thing that matters, his dad said.

"He's not 100%, but he is an amazing kid," said John Moore.


On Dec. 19, 2014, when his parents were away, Aaron was home putting the finishing touches on insulating a storage building. A friend planned to help out in the evening, but Aaron decided to do it himself.

With insulation materials in hand, Aaron climbed atop a 12- to 14-foot ladder above a new concrete floor. Climbing the ladder until he was near the top, Aaron stretched out toward the ceiling -- his head now 16 feet above the floor.

He lost his balance. The ladder went one way, he went the other. Plummeting straight down, his legs tangled on the ladder steps as he slammed his head into the floor.

Seriously injured, Aaron lay alone in the cold building. No one knows how long it was until Aaron's friend found him unconscious, convulsing and not breathing.

"By some miracle his friend had finished early to come over at 5 p.m., some hour and a half early," John said. His friend dialed 911 and paramedics arrived in minutes.

Aaron's skull was fractured in six places and doctors extracted a quart of blood from his brain during a 5 1/2-hour surgery.

"The doctor said the next four days would be critical as Aaron was placed in an induced coma to see if he makes it, literally," John said. "They didn't expect him to make it. Then he woke up four days later, was talking and knew who we were. They said he's made it this far and that is a good sign."

However, Aaron couldn't move his left side; a CT scan showed inactivity on the right side of his brain where he hit his head. He was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Naperville, Illinois. Within two months, he returned home for physical therapy.

Aaron's continuing recovery comes with lasting effects that make it difficult for him to follow in his father's footsteps.

"His speech is fine. His cognitive thinking is fine. His short-term memory is not the greatest and he can't deal with stress at all, as his arms and legs begin shaking in stressful situations," John said.

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