Professional football kickers have shown us, a number of times, how challenging it is to put a football through the uprights, but most of them aren’t blind in one eye.
For new Iowa Barnstormers kicker, Cody Barber, however, it’s something he has had to deal with for most of his life.
“I don’t use it as an excuse,” Barber said. “I just keep working and keep grinding.”
The Blind Eye: Cody Barber’s story
When Barber was 14 years old, him and his friends were playing with paintball guns, when he got hit in the corner of his left eye.
“I didn’t have a mask on,” Barber said. “I had just gotten the gun, and my friends were out messing around.”
The injury would immediately make Barber legally blind in his eye, something that might hinder anyone his age.
“I can see just a lot of [blurriness] out of it, shapes and stuff like that,” Barber said. “It was pretty tough, and you don’t usually think too much about losing an eye as a 14-year old.”
However, for Barber, the disadvantage is slim.
Despite the eye problem, he has become one of the better indoor football kickers in any of the top four leagues.
Last season in the CIF, Barber drilled a league-high 53-yard field goal and helped the Bloomington Edge to the playoffs.
“He’s a very strong, talented kicker,” wide receiver and holder Brady Roland said. “I’m looking forward to this year. Last year we had a good kicker in Chun, but his leg wasn’t the strongest, but Cody’s leg is very strong. So, we’ll actually be able to kick from wherever on the field now.”
Roland was referring to the end of last season, when Barber made his first and only performance to date for the Iowa Barnstormers.
The team was on their way to the United Conference Championship game, when their regular season kicker Kenton Chun was taken out for the year due to injury.
Head Coach Dixie Wooten decided to sign Barber who had kicked with Bloomington up until the week before when their season ended.
Barber moved to Des Moines for the week of the game and would travel to Sioux Falls to step in as the kicker.
“Just spending that week with him, you could tell he had a real strong leg,” Roland said. “[Having only one good eye] shows the work that he’s put in. Some guys struggle to make field goals with two [eyes]. It’s pretty crazy that he’s [so good.]”
Barber and the Barnstormers will take the field in under two weeks to try and go back to the Indoor Football League playoffs for a second year in a row. Below is the team’s full schedule for this year.
Iowa Barnstormers 2018 Schedule
Sun. Feb 25 @ Green Bay
Sat. Mar 10 vs. Arizona
Sun. Mar 18 vs. Sioux Falls
Sat. Mar 24 @ Cedar Rapids
Fri. Mar 30 @ Nebraska
Sat. Apr 14 vs. Nebraska
Sat. Apr 28 vs. Green Bay
Sat. May 5 @ Sioux Falls
Fri. May 11 vs. Cedar Rapids
Sun. May 20 @ Arizona
Fri. May 25 vs. Green Bay
Sat. Jun 2 vs. Arizona
Fri. Jun 8 @ Sioux Falls
Sat. Jun 16 vs. Cedar Rapids