For decades, stories of this nature were unheard of. The last couple of years, however, they’re popping up more and more.
Bryton Barr began his college football playing career at FCS Towson in 2012, starting 11 games as a true freshman. He started the first two games the following season, then missed the remainder of that year with a pectoral injury. A similar injury cost him the entire 2014 season, while a torn ACL kept him out for all of the 2015 season.
The linebacker was healthy for all of 2016, but his eligibility clock was set to expire even as, in his own mind, he wasn’t finished with the collegiate level. After filing an appeal with the NCAA, Barr was not only granted a sixth season of eligibility last month but a seventh one as well.
Barr has since decided to transfer to UMass for his final two years of eligibility in 2017 and 2018. And after that latter season, he still maintains some hope that his career won’t be over despite all of the injury obstacles.
“My dream is still to play in the NFL,” the player told pennlive.com. “Even though I’ve had those injuries, I know that if I come up here and play like I can, I believe I can get a shot. I think I can get someone to, at least, let me get in camp. This wasn’t the plan, but I definitely think it’s going to work out good.”
In November of last year, Texas Tech offensive lineman Tony Morales, who missed every season from 2011-14 because of various injuries, was granted a seventh season of eligibility that he will use in 2017. After knee injuries cost him the 2010-12 seasons, Deontae Cooper earned a seventh year that he used in 2016.