Upper Dublin's Barber back after serious accident
Ashley Barber was sitting on the passenger side. Her sister Amanda was driving. It was 10 a.m. Thanksgiving morning last year, and the two were singing along to a Fetty Wap song after stopping at Dunkin' Donuts.
Ashley Barber was sitting on the passenger side. Her sister Amanda was driving.
It was 10 a.m. Thanksgiving morning last year, and the two were singing along to a Fetty Wap song after stopping at Dunkin' Donuts.
They were heading up the Northeast Extension to Allentown to pick up their great aunt and take her back to their grandmother's house in Maple Glen.
That's the last thing the Upper Dublin senior remembers.
She doesn't recall the 18-wheeler truck that rear-ended their vehicle. Or the way the car that Amanda was driving in the left lane spun across the other lanes, ended up facing oncoming traffic, and was hit by another car.
Barber doesn't remember that part of the accident. She was knocked unconscious. The details - like how Amanda saw her sister's seatbelt and seat broken in half, or that the trunk of the car was in the backseat when the ambulance arrived at the scene - would come later by way of other people.
She describes herself as being "out of it" for most of the ordeal, but remembers one of the first things she said upon waking up in the hospital was, "You have to tell my coach I can't play basketball."
Last year would have been her first with the Cardinals.
Barber spent her freshman season at Allentown Central Catholic and her sophomore year at Whitehall. In preseason, she practiced with the team and played in a scrimmage against Germantown Academy.
By all accounts, the 6-foot-1 forward was going to be a big part of the offense, another weapon for a team that already had a few.
But instead, Barber was sidelined with a severe concussion, short-term memory loss, nerve damage to her left side, and neck and back issues.
The concussion was so bad she couldn't go outside, and when she returned to school, she could only manage half days, visiting the nurse's office three times each day to sit in a dark room.
Barber struggled in class, at times thinking she should drop to lower levels. She even contemplated reclassifying to redo her junior year.
"It was devastating at the time," Barber said. "I was in a deep hole."
So deep, in fact, that she thought, "There's no way I can get out of this."
College seemed far off, as did a return to the basketball court.
Then, suddenly, everything changed in the middle of March. Her headaches went away and she could sit through an entire day of school and not feel lost. By the end of April she was cleared to play basketball.
"I'm technically a freshman on this team," Barber said. "I'm excited to show everyone what I can do."
Now, she's inserted herself in the starting lineup for the Cardinals (0-2) and will play at Philadelphia University next year.
"I just like being down low and banging around and trying to work my way to get the ball in the basket," she said. "As soon as the ball goes up I think it's mine.
"I love being down there," Barber added. "That's my home, that's my area."
This time last year, Barber's eyes would have been sensitive to the bright lights of a gymnasium; the volume of the public address announcer's voice saying her name too much for her to handle.
At forward, No. 32, senior Ashley Barber.
The noise sounds just fine to her now.