The Comeback Begins: Youth Soccer Standout Barnard Hopes to Take the Field for Classical This Fall

February 5, 2013
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Lynn Classical freshman Paige Barnard is pictured with her parents, Darcey and David, her brother, David, and school principal Gene Constantino inside the principal’s office. Paige, who underwent two surgeries last summer, is hoping to play soccer at Classical this fall.

Lynn Classical freshman Paige Barnard is pictured with her parents, Darcey and David, her brother, David, and school principal Gene Constantino inside the principal’s office. Paige, who underwent two surgeries last summer, is hoping to play soccer at Classical this fall.

Paige Barnard was sailing along in the annual Lynn Youth Soccer Memorial Day Tournament last May.

Having played the sport since the age of six in the program, Barnard had put together solid performances for the Lynn U-14 Sharks who had made it to the championship game.

In that final game, Barnard sustained a serious knee injury early in the first half.

“There was someone running up beside me and I planted my foot in the ground and I turned and my foot went one way and my knee went the opposite way and I felt something pop,” recalled Barnard.

Following the game in which the Sharks won the title, Barnard went to Union Hospital for X-rays of her knee. After undergoing an MRI exam the next day, it was determined that Paige had torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee.

Paige wanted to attend her graduation from Pickering Middle School and put off surgery until June 21 when doctors repaired her ACL at Salem Hospital.

“The knee feels good right now,” Paige said in an interview last week. “I do training for the knee with an athletic trainer at Game Seven in Danvers. But I haven’t tested the knee for soccer yet. I’ll try it when my doctor says the knee is ready.”

The knee injury wasn’t the only setback that Paige, now a 15-year-old freshman at Classical, encountered on her way to beginning her high school soccer career at Classical.

Following the knee surgery, Paige began to experience headaches that were unrelated to the knee surgery. “I had never experienced anything like that before and eventually it went away,” said Paige. “But at the beginning of July, I started getting more headaches and feeling nauseous in the morning. After physical therapy for knee, I really felt tired. Then I started to get double vision and I didn’t feel like myself basically.”

Paige and her parents, David and Darcey, went to visit an ophthalmologist, Dr. Randall Patkin, where Darcey happens to work.

“Dr. Patkin saw swelling behind both eyes,” said David Barnard.

Following their doctors’ recommendations, Paige went to Boston Children’s Hospital where a team of neurosurgeons and neurologists examined her and called for an MRI exam of her head.

“They eventually came in and told me I had a brain tumor,” said Paige.

The family was stunned by the devastating news, not knowing yet the identity of the tumor.

“I pulled the doctor aside and I asked him ‘Is she going to be alright?’’ recalled Paige’s father. “At that point, he said, ‘We don’t know yet.’ “We were trying to stay positive for Paige.”

Paige was admitted to Children’s Hospital and following brain surgery on July 28 in which it was determine that the tumor was benign.

“I was just happy to start feeling better,” said Paige. “A few weeks ago I went for an MRI and the doctors said everything was fine.”

David Barnard said his daughter underwent a procedure called endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV)  that involved doctors making an incision in her head and rerouting the brain fluid around the tumor (tectal glioma).

“I was just happy to start feeling better,” said Paige. “A few weeks ago I went for an MRI and the doctors said everything was fine.”

David said his daughter successfully passed a key six-month milestone and she continues to make progress and will have the condition monitored during annual MRI exams.

Paige hopes to try out for the Lynn Classical girls soccer team in August. “Mostly all my friends are on the varsity soccer team,” said Paige. “And I look up to [soccer standout] Francesca [Galeazzi] a lot. I’m going to work hard and I hope to be on the varsity.”

A versatile midfielder, Paige has good footwork and a strong kick.

“I have a doctor’s appointment on Feb. 15 and I’ve been trying to rebuild the muscle in my leg,” said Paige, who has participated in five months of physical therapy. “At first I’ll take it light and do only dribbling. I hope to be ready for pre-season practice.”

Paige is enjoying her first year at Classical.

“I really love it her and I’m glad I chose Classical,” said Paige. “We have a great principal and the teachers and kids are super.”

Classical Principal Gene Constantino said Paige is an excellent student who has a 3.82 grade point average.

“When I heard about Paige and the adversity she has faced and overcome, I was just so impressed,” said Constantino. “I didn’t know anything about what she went through prior to enrolling at Classical. I’m so impressed with her maturity and she’s just a great kid and we’re glad to have her here at Classical High School.”

And come September, Paige Barnard is looking forward to making her debut on the Classical soccer team under the direction of coach Justina Alicudo who has the program moving in a positive direction.

“We’re just very proud of our daughter,” David Barnard said. “She’s been through a lot. It was just a tough summer for us. Paige asked me at one point, ‘Dad, why did this happen?’ “And I told her I don’t have an answer for you, but there will be an answer at some point.

“Just last week we were in the car and I asked her what she wants to do after college, and she answered that she would like to help kids through injuries and not just the physical part, but the mental part as well.”

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