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Jeff Barker’s Career Cut Short By Neck Injury

I had hoped that after the 2008 events surrounding Dante Love, that we would never again have to post about a player with a devastating injury. Unfortunately, that wish made it roughly 14 months before the same thing happened again, this time to sophomore DE Jeff Barker.

November 12 against Northern Illinois on a kickoff return, Barker was driven into the ground by an opposing NIU player, resulting in a torn ligament in his neck. The curious thing about all of this is Barker actually walked off the field under his own power after the play. There were virtually no signs that the injury would be even a fraction of the severity that it ended up being. While the injury had effectively ended his career, it has also left him in surprisingly good spirits, considering what very well could have happened.

The Northwest Indiana Times caught up with Barker, who said, “I have to look at all the good things that football gave me. It could’ve been worse. I could’ve ended up paralyzed. I’m thankful that I’m still walking.” As are we.

OTP caught up with Barker’s mother, Jimmie Gail Barker-Kunis, who said, “My sons dreams where smashed by this football injury because he loves the game, has played since he was 6, and probably had a future in the NFL. He is just very hurt that he can never play again, he is now in Dante Loves situation. I appreciate your concern and ask just to keep him in your prayers on his upcoming surgery.”

Feel free to use the comment section here to pass on any thoughts to Jeff or the Barker family, and join us in the whole prayer thing if that’s your bag.

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5 Responses

  1. Thoughts and prayers to you and yours, Jeff. Thankful it wasn’t more serious!

  2. I met his parents at the Akron game last season… Dad couldn’t have been nicer… Sad thing to hear…

  3. Thanks for the support. surgery went well and im back doing everyday activities

  4. Good to hear, Jeff! Keep us and Cardinal nation informed of how you’re doing and what we can do to help!

  5. Thank You everyone for all your thoughts and prayers. Surgery went fine for Jeff and is doing very well.

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