Stephen Barnett is a senior two-sport athlete for Calvary Christian. He plays both sides of the ball on the football team and is a center fielder in baseball who has highlight videos for both sports on YouTube to attract interest from college programs.
During an August football practice this past season, his hopes of receiving an athletic scholarship appeared to have been cut off abruptly. The reason: an anterior cruciate ligament tear.
He caught a pass in the open field, tried to make a cut and felt his left knee buckle under him in what he described as similar fashion to the New York Jets’ Darrelle Revis’ season-ending injury.
When he initially got the knee checked out, he heard good news. A doctor told him it was just a sprain, but when Barnett woke up the next morning it was unbearable to put any pressure on the knee.
He went back to have an MRI, and the results came back indicating he had an ACL tear.
After having surgery Aug. 28, the original prognosis was that he would be out at least nine months, missing virtually the entire baseball season in addition to football.
He rehabilitated the knee and cut his recovery time in half. Barnett was back in 41/2 months — just in time for his first baseball practice of the season.
“I feel like I never even had surgery,” says Barnett, who hit .324 with an on-base percentage of .461 and 15 stolen bases last season. “I even feel faster. I feel like the rehab made me stronger.”
Barnett’s inspiration for the speedy recovery? Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
Barnett read articles and watched videos about Peterson’s recovery from the same injury and the season he had, finishing 9 yards shy of Eric Dickerson’s NFL single-season rushing record.
“He went through the same thing,” Barnett said. “They told him they would be amazed if he came back by the first day of [training camp]. He was back in like 4 1/2 months, he said he felt faster, and look at the year he had.
“He was just better than ever, so it was just try to do the things he did.”
Barnett says his fielding is currently “better than ever,” but he is still working to get up to speed as a hitter.
“During the summer, pitching 90 [mph] would look like 70, but now 70 looks like 100 just because I haven’t been able to get in,” he said.
While still getting back into the swing of things at the plate, he said he has kept his on-base percentage up by working walks and continues to use his speed to his advantage once he reaches base.
Missing his entire senior football season shot down any chances of a football scholarship, but he has received baseball interest and offers from Coastal Carolina, Asbury University in Kentucky and Spring Hill College in Alabama, among others.
ARCHBISHOP MCCARTHY 4, CHAMINADE 2
WP: Jason Stettner. LP: Rashad Flerismond. Top performers: Alex Rodriguez 1-2, run. Michael Gigliotti 1-2. Jonathan Quintana 1-1, run
MIAMI FLORIDA CHRISTIAN 13, SOMERSET 0 (5)
WP: Will Davis. Top performers: Michael Fernandez 2-3, 3 RBI. Eric Montero 2-3, 2 RBI. Jack Diaz 1-3, triple, 3 RBI. FC: 4-2