Keep calm and keep playing football: The Hudson Barber miracle

Published 11:17 am Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Hudson Barber, left, stands on the sidelines during Bearcat football practice. The wound on his right leg can still be seen. — Powell Cobb

Deer season had one more week left before ending. Bobby Barber and his son, Hudson, took a Sunday in January 2013 off to get out in the woods and see if they could shoot something before time ran out.

At one point, the two split up, straying about 75 yards apart from each other. Hudson was carrying a gun on his shoulder like usual. He was alert, concentrating on finding a buck.

Then his gun slipped.

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He reached back over his shoulder to grab it, but accidentally pulled the trigger. The shot went off straight down into his right leg. Hudson let out a scream, and his dad came running.

“He let out that scream, and was calm after that,” Barber said. Seeing his son bleeding on the ground sent him into panic mode. But Hudson’s natural demeanor and laid-back attitude might have saved his life. While staying calm, he was able to keep his blood pressure low, preventing his injury from bleeding out faster.

Barber’s trembling fingers called 911, and friends they were hunting with came to help with Hudson’s leg.

“Everything worked together at that moment,” Barber said. “It was amazing.” He hates to think what might have happened had the two been by themselves. But with help and a speedy EMS call, Hudson was soon at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

Doctors weren’t sure the extent of the damage done to Hudson. The calf muscle and bone was destroyed, and with an injury like his, tissue might continue dying even days after the accident.

Weeks went by, and Hudson endured a number of surgeries. He prayed. So did his family and the Bainbridge community.

But finally, there was good news. Hudson was going to keep his leg, but doctors warned it would never be the same. His mother, Allison, was concerned about the pain her son might struggle with for the rest of his life. She didn’t want her son popping pain medication regularly just to function.

Hudson Injury

Hudson’s leg directly after accident was seriously damaged, but with patience and a good attitude, it has healed well.

Hudson’s high tolerance for pain and miraculous recovery nipped that in the bud.

“We went from taking three (pills) a day, to two a day, to one a day, to none,” Barber said. “And he did that on his own decision.”

It took a little while for Hudson to get back in the swing of walking on his leg. A small opening the size of a pea was the main concern. You could see straight into his calf to the tendons. Hudson said maintaining that was annoying, laughing at the memories of keeping it sterile so infection didn’t get inside.

Hudon bone

Hudson’s fibula is shown missing a piece. The shotgun accident blew that part of his bone out. Miraculously, it happens to be one of the few bones in the body not needed to function normally

But it has since sealed up, and Hudson is back in action. He runs just as fast as he had before the accident. His team supports him. He’s starting on the freshman Bearcat football team as a lineman.

“The only thing that bothers him is when he runs, he says his ankle hurts,” Allison said. But Hudson has a high tolerance for pain. A little ankle pain is nothing to him. “One day I asked him, ‘What if you fall?’”

Hudson’s answer was simple, yet indicative of his incredible attitude.

“He said, ‘I’ll just get right back up and keep going,’” Allison said.