H.S. FOOTBALL | Caldwell Co. Coach Fighting Parkinson's Disease

09/06/2017 02:33 PM

The will to fight through adversity isn’t something you can coach. It isn’t something you can teach or learn; it’s inside you. When faced with adversity, do you lay down? Or do you step up and go to battle? For Caldwell County head football coach David Barnes, he chose to fight.

Earlier this year Barnes had to come up with his toughest game plan yet- how he would fight Parkinson’s disease.

“At first you think well- because there’s no cure. You know, so what’s the next thing you do? So with me, you fight and that’s what we’re doing and every day you do something to make yourself better and get out of bed and go to work and being around this football team has been a big help for me and it’s just something that you don’t give up,” Barnes told Spectrum News.

So every day, like he has for the last 12 years, Barnes goes to work coaching his Tigers.

“These kids, you know, they keep me going,” Barnes explained. “You know, they’re a great group of kids to be around and just coaching football is something I’ve done for 32 years so it’s something I want to continue to do and I’ve got my son back here coaching with us, so that’s been a big help.”

For his son Will, he’s glad he chose this year to join his dad’s staff. Will admits the diagnosis was scary, but seeing his father’s courage has inspired him.

“Talking through it and talking with the doctors, it’s manageable and he’s always been kind of- he’s going to fight through it and he’s going to make the best of it and that’s kind of how he’s attacked it, which has made it easier on me I think,” Will said.

Barnes is known for getting his players to play to their full potential. This season, the Tigers are off to a 2-1 start and their source of motivation is right on their sideline.

“He’s just got that about him. He wants us to do the best we can,” said Dylan Gray, a senior outside linebacker and running back who has played for Coach Barnes throughout his high school career.

Will noticed the same thing, both when he played for his dad, and now coaching beside him.

“The thing I always noticed was the relationship the kids have with dad. They really want to play hard for him and that’s kind of amplified now I think.”

The community has rallied behind Coach Barnes, but he isn’t surprised.

“They always get behind the people in this community, just like they do our football team,” Barnes explained. “You know, we’ve got the greatest crowd and community for football and for our school system of any community around here.”

Barnes said he is managing his condition with medication and exercise. He gets fatigued in a practice or game, but feels that he is handling it well. He has no plans to slow down, and expects his team to follow in suit.

Watch the full story below:

Friday night in their rivalry match-up with the Crittenden County Rockets, they will be selling t-shirts to support Barnes and raise money for Parkinson’s research. The game is at Crittenden County at 7:00 p.m. central on Friday.

If you wish to get a t-shirt, you can contact Crittenden County High School or Caldwell County High School, or you can send a donation via check to Caldwell County High.


Lyndsey Gough

Lyndsey is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News. You can catch Lyndsey’s work on Sports Night, the only nightly show dedicated to covering everything from high school to college sports in Kentucky. She loves covering all sports but it’s the personal stories that really stand out to Lyndsey, like the story of a community coming together to remember high school track start Trinity Gay who was killed. Lyndsey came to Spectrum News from WBKO in Bowling Green where she was an Anchor, Reporter and Producer covering news and sports. She’s a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of UK. Sports Night airs at 6:30 and 10:30 weeknights on Spectrum News. If you have a story idea for Lyndsey email her at Lyndsey.gough@charter.com.

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