Fred Barr was a teammate of ours at the University of Iowa from 1999 - 2002 and was a part of Kirk Ferentz’s first recruiting class. Fred was the only true freshman to start in 1999, started all four years of his career at Iowa and was a Co-Captain of our 2002 Big Ten Championship team. He ended his career with 376 tackles, which was the 4th highest total at the time and is still the 8th highest total in program history. He garnered All Big Ten honors at two different linebacker positions. During Fred's tenure under coach Kirk Ferentz, his class went from 1-10 in 1999 to 10-1 in 2002; a historic turnaround and a team which set the "Barr" for Ferentz led teams throughout his now 23-year tenure. Fred was very proud to have been selected as an Honorary Captain in 2017 and loved being able to share time with the Hawkeye players and staff.
Fred, no stranger to hard work, often worked 50-60 hours per week and spent his time off taking care of his fiancée (Jessica) and two children (Frederick and Luna), when life took an unexpected turn and Fred began the fight of his life. For the past two years, Fred has been battling through what he thought were severe migraine headaches and pushed through debilitating pain every day—until one day, the disease he suffered from overcame his ability to function. Working a position that required his daily presence, Fred was eventually let go from his job because it became unbearable to meet his obligations. Unable to function normally, Fred was forced to seek help. Fred reached out to a multitude of health professionals. After a number of emergency visits, he found little relief and no answers to what was causing his pain. Eventually, he found a primary doctor who referred him to a local neurologist who in January, was able to diagnose his condition—and it wasn't good. Fred is suffering from a rare condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia which causes chronic, debilitating pain to the back of the head, neck and face. There are only about 13,000 cases in the US per year and it’s considered amongst pain specialists as some of the worst pain known to medicine, often being referred to as the “suicidal disease” because of the level of pain the patient is forced to bear. Fred Barr is in trouble and is fighting for his life!
There is little to no pain management that can help comfort a patient suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia. The trigeminal nerve is the largest and most complex of the twelve cranial nerves (CNs). It supplies sensations to the face, mucous membranes, and other structures of the head. It is the motor nerve for the facial muscles and runs along the back of the brain to below the cheekbone. Severe cases such as Fred's can leave patients suffering with constant “10 out of 10” levels of pain. When it really flares up, the pain is excruciating! Fred's condition causes him to feel some level of pain 24/7. He has tried numerous medications that have provided little to no relief and has produced some fairly horrible side effects. He sleeps 18 hours a day and is unable to participate in any normal physical activities, let alone play with his two children or spend quality time with his fiancée, Jessica. To a man who at one point was an unstoppable force, a true leader of Kirk Ferentz's first four years at Iowa and “Superman” to his two little kids, this is an unbearable and unacceptable existence.
January was just the start of a number of medical visits and struggles to come. Fred's condition affected more than just HIS employment. Jessica has become Fred’s primary caregiver (in addition to caring for the two children) due to all of the necessary medical appointments and his current condition. Caring for everyone all day long/ every day does not allow her to work a full-time job to support the family.
Fred has been seen by seven different types of doctors and has finally been cleared to undergo a surgical procedure that will hopefully decrease the constant nerve pain he suffers from. We are grateful for The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for all they are doing for Fred, and we remain hopeful for a positive outcome. Unfortunately, the family is struggling financially to cover all of their expenses. General living expenses and medical bills are mounting and Fred and his family are at a point where they need help. We are looking to our Hawkeye family to lend a hand and help Fred's family at this critical time. The brain surgery and recuperation time will keep Fred from being able to work for several months. Hawkeye Nation has been asked to "Fight for Iowa” through the University’s fundraising campaign—we ask you to extend that "Fight" for Fred. Please join us in supporting Fred and his family at this very critical time in their lives. Every amount helps, so if you’re able, please make your donation today!
Pray for Fred and his family.
Always a Hawk!