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NFL: The tragic story of Adia Barnes losing her father after meeting him

Arizona Womens Basketball HC Adia Barnes
Arizona Womens Basketball HC Adia Barnes
Walter Sharp
ANALYST
Modified 04 Apr 2021
Feature

Adia Barnes is the head women's basketball coach at the University of Arizona. She is the daughter of former NFL linebacker Peter Barnes, who spent his 11-year NFL career with four different teams. Adia Barnes was three-years-old when her mother and father divorced.

Her mother went on to marry Bruce McRae. After the marriage between Barnes' mother and McRae, Adia and her father Pete started to drift apart. Adia Barnes went on to play college basketball at the University of Arizona and played 10 years overseas.

Barnes became head women's basketball coach at Arizona in 2016. After the 2019 season, Adia Barnes signed an extension that made her the coach at Arizona until 2024. During a recruiting trip, Barnes received a phone call that changed her life forever.


NFL: What happened after Adia Barnes received the phone call on her recruiting trip?

Arizona is the head women
Arizona is the head women's basketball coach for the University of Arizona

While traveling on her recruiting trip, Adia Barnes received a phone call from Lee Thomas, one of Pete's old teammates with the Chargers. Thomas informed Adia Barnes that her father was living in Texas and struggling to survive. Peter Barnes suffered from dementia and Adia learned that the landlord had been charging her father multiple times a month for expenses.

Adia said this about her father's situation in Texas.

“He was paying for telephones and paying thousands of dollars a month for stuff, It was insane.”
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This led to Adia Barnes moving her father out of the apartment. She went on to say this about the apartment that her father lived in.

“I’m sure there was paperwork, but I wasn’t going to go through anything,” she went on to say. “I was just so upset about the situation. I bought him all new clothes it wasn’t worth taking. Everyone was taking advantage of him.”

Adia later moved in with her father as she knew that he couldn't be left alone because of his battle with dementia. Barnes knew that her father needed to be cared for properly so that he could live a good life. Adia Barnes ended up taking over the responsibility of caring for her father's life.

Adia later moved her father to the Copper Canyon Alzheimer's Special Care Center. They received great news that her father was accepted into the NFL's 88 plan. The NFL's 88 plan provides former NFL players that suffer from dementia, Alzheimer's, ALS, and Parkinson's disease up to $100,000 per year for their medical and custodial expenses.

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Adia Barnes got to know her father during the final five months of his life. Dementia made Peter Barnes confused and made him forget a lot, but he never forgot his daughter. Adia said that one thing her father always wanted was to help the other NFL players who were suffering just like he was.

Peter never got the opportunity to help the other NFL players who were suffering. The former NFL linebacker passed away on May 3rd, 2018 in the Tucson hospice care facility. He was 72-years-old. Adia Barnes had this to say about the time she got to spend with her father.

“I didn’t think he was going to decline so fast,” she said. “I think God did this for a purpose, for me to spend the rest of his life with him.”

After the passing of her father, Adia Barnes traveled to Peter's hometown. She said she was welcomed by thousands of individuals who were there to mourn her father's death. Barnes wishes that she had more time with her father.

Published 04 Apr 2021, 08:23 IST
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