Sophomore guard overcomes ACL injury

Justin Perry

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Prior to coming to Boone, Jessica Barrios, a sophomore guard, spent most of her childhood moving around to different countries and states.

She finally ended up in Miami, Fla., where she played basketball for Miami Beach high school.  Barrio was a two-year letter winner and made the Miami Dade North all-star team.

Once at Appalachian, Jessica played in 21 games and made one start her freshman year.

“I feel like I got the opportunity to play in a great program and be on a beautiful campus with great academics,” Barrios said. “It’s a complete package, I couldn’t be happier.”
But heading into her sophomore year at Appalachian, Barrios tore her ACL during practice.

Most players would be devastated after getting such an injury, but never one to be deterred, Barrios took the injury in stride.

“The injury just allowed me to experience another side of being an athlete,” Barrios said. “It was a setback, but I always said ‘minor setback, a major comeback.'”

The road back to health was a long one, but with rehab and help from her coaches and trainers, it was nothing but an obstacle on her path.

“Really, Jess did this all on her own,” said head coach Darcie Vincent. “She pushed her [the athletic trainer] every day last year to say ‘get me back.’ The fact that she’s playing this year without a brace is a tribute to who she is.”

The determination Barrios has shown on the road to recovery is something that people can expect from her in every aspect of her life.

“She loves what she’s doing and works very hard, so I think that helped as well,” Vincent said. “I couldn’t even give you a thousandth of a doubt that she wasn’t going to come back from this and as well as she did.”

After redshirting in the 2011-12 season, Barrios is looking to make a comeback this basketball season.

“I hope to get better and use what I learned from watching and being on the sidelines for the whole season,” Barrios said.  “Hopefully I can get on the court this year and I can help my teammates reach the goal we have failed to do for two years straight, which is to get to the NCAA tournament.”

With the encouragement from her coaches and teammates, and more importantly the belief that Barrios has in herself, there seems to be no question that she will rebound from her injury this season.

“Jess being who she is, again a phenomenal student who works harder than anyone out there,” Vincent said. “You knew when she went down with it that she was going to come back from it.”

 

Story: KAITLYN THRUSTON, Senior Sports Reporter

Photo Courtesy Dave Mayo/GoAsu