ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Barth Celebrates Comeback Season after Injury


Courtesy of Jonathan Kelly/THINC Visual

Going for 3 points, Zoie Barth shoots over a player from Dakota State University.

The 2021 NAIA Tournament was life-changing for 2019 Alumna Zoie Barth.  

On March 17th, the day of the first round of the NAIA tournament, Barth was in a car accident.

As a result of that accident, Barth went to the hospital with bruised ribs.

Despite her injury, Barth went on to play in the game, and score 24 points, and get seven assists and two steals. 

“I decided to play after my car accident because it was the first round of the national tournament. The national tournament is what we work towards the entire year and I was still able to play and cherish that moment and the privilege of hosting the first round at Thomas More.”

Little did Barth realize that she would experience more challenges that same week. 

It was March 22nd, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) semifinals game against Morningside Iowa College at the Tyson Event Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

In the first half, Barth led the team with a total of 9 rebounds and 5 assists.

Then during the second half, a life-changing moment happened to Barth. 

She tore her ACL. 

Barth’s former High School coach and current Girls Varsity Basketball Coach, Coach Jaime Richey, knew something was seriously wrong when she saw Barth crying. 

“We were watching it on TV and I knew as soon as I saw her go down it wasn’t good.  Then when I heard her scream come through the TV I knew it was really really bad.  Zoie has a high pain tolerance and knew it wasn’t good,” said Richey. 

When tearing an ACL,  the player has to get surgery, then go through months of rehab to get back to where they were before the injury.

Barth has been doing all she can to get back to where she was.

“I have been doing physical therapy since April to work on range of motion and strength with my knee. I have been doing non-contact drills at practice and working out on my own to recover from my injury.”

Richey also tore her ACL in college and shared how it isn’t just a physical battle, but a mental battle as well. 

“Not only are you working on getting your injured knee strong, but your other knee also. Once you get your knee strong enough to be cleared the next steps are all mental.  You just have to go out and play and not worry about getting hurt again and you can’t be hesitant.”

As practices have begun and the season is starting up, Barth started coming back slowly. 

She is not able to do any contact drills at the moment, but she is still finding ways to prepare for the season and is setting goals for this season.

“My goals for this upcoming season are first and foremost to get cleared and work on getting back to where I was and to win the conference tournament and National Championship.”

With the season coming up, Richey knows that Barth will not let her knee injury stop her from the greatness her future has to hold. 

“She always faced challenges head-on. She never hid from them. She put her head down and she always went back to work. I know she will do the same with her knee injury. ”

It is the special relationship that Barth has with basketball that keeps her going. 

“Basketball is special to me because it is so much more than a sport. Basketball has introduced some of my all time favorite people into my life and taught me countless lessons and truths about myself. I love the sport, but I am more grateful for the lessons that have been revealed through playing the game I love, and form friendships that will last a lifetime.”

Barth grew up in Fort Thomas and had many role models around her that inspired her to be the person, and player, she is today, such as her mom.

“My biggest role model is my mom. My mom has set such a dominant example in my life from the start. She has taught me what it looks like to not only be a good athlete but more importantly a good person. My mom inspires me to be the best version of myself and live a life that is led by love and passion.”

Barth started playing varsity basketball at Highlands as a 6th grader and played all the way until her senior year. After graduation, Barth committed to play at Thomas More University and is now a Junior. 

There were many things that stood out to Thomas More Coach Jeff Hans when recruiting Zoie, but the biggest thing was the type of person she was.

“I knew that she was a good basketball player and great student, but during the recruiting process, I quickly realized that Zoie was a good leader. She always had a lot of teammates/classmates around her.”

During her time at Highlands, Richey noticed how Barth never shied away from challenges.

“No matter what I hope Zoie realizes she has been a great role model for the little girls in Ft. Thomas and the NKY area.  She is an outstanding young lady that excels in everything she does.”