Farming with a Physical Disability: A Teenager's Story

After a farm accident put this Iowa youth in a wheelchair, he rebuilt his life and is looking forward to the future.

| September/October 1989

  • 119-038-01
    The accident hasn't kept David from hunting, fishing and ATV riding, or altered his plans to take up farming.

  • 119-038-01

In this first-person account, teenager David Gosch tells the story of how he became partially paralyzed in an accident on his family farm, and what it's like to grow up with a physical disability while continuing to work on the farm.

My name is David Gosch. I am 17 years old, and I live with my parents, Marc and Sharon; my brothers, Matthew, Christopher and Nathan; and my sister, Jamie. I had two brothers stillborn: Timothy in June 1982 and Jacob in May 1988.

When I was two and a half years old, my parents found out I was deaf. They drove me to a class for the hearing impaired in a school in Sioux City, 74 miles away, every school day for six years. I did not mind as long as I got back to our farm and my family at night. I started going to regular school in Scheswig in the third grade. The kids at school accepted me very well and even learned a little sign language at first.

I love to help my dad with chores around our farm, so I am outside all the time. On June 14, 1986, I was helping my dad with tagging calves and hauling new cows to pasture after we bought them. After he let them out to the pasture with the other cows, I walked into the horse trailer to clean out some sloppy cow manure, and Dad shut the trailer's door to leave the pasture to get home.

He drove out the gate with my Uncle Dennis. Dad wanted to get off' the highway fast because there was a carnival in Manilla and lots of traffic. The highway was bumpy, so the trailer came off the hook—that must have caused it. Dad felt a bump on the back of the pickup, looked in the mirror, and the trailer was beside the truck. He told Dennis; next, they watched the trailer go past the truck, downhill, at 55 mph. Then it crashed on a bank of the golf course.

Dennis remembered about me in the trailer and told Dad about me. Dad stopped the pickup and drove back to the trailer, then looked in to see how I was. I was semiconscious. I was moving my arms but did not know what was going on.


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