photo of former Cumberland University volleyball player McCrea Barney, now a nurse fighting the COVID-19 pandemic

Former Volleyball Star from Cumberland University Now Saving Lives in Pandemic

Cumberland University graduate McCrea Barney has transitioned from the volleyball court to the healthcare field fighting one of the toughest pandemics the world has seen in 100 years.

McCrea transferred to Cumberland from Faulkner State Community College in Bay Minette, Alabama. She registered 1,115 assists in two seasons for the Sun Chiefs en route to one NJCAA National Tournament appearance where she met the Cumberland coaching staff.

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“Cumberland was at nationals recruiting and ended up recruiting four of us. When I did my official visit, it felt like home. Everyone was very welcoming. I fell in love with the campus,” Barney said about her recruitment. “Cumberland gave me a chance to gain a degree in nursing and still continue to play volleyball. Not many colleges allow that.”

In 2013, Barney played in every single set for Cumberland, mainly as the team’s libero, collecting 323 digs. She earned Mid-South Conference Scholar-Athlete honors that season.

Her senior year she posted 141 digs and 154 assists in 82 sets. McCrea enjoyed the bus rides the most during her playing career, saying that “…we shared so many laughs. That’s where we bonded the most.”

photo of McCrea Barney in her volleyball team shirt

McCrea Barney

McCrea Barney spent one more year at Cumberland to finish out her nursing degree graduating in May 2016. She has since moved back home to Mandeville, Louisiana, 35 miles away from New Orleans, to work at Lakeview Regional Medical Center. She normally works nights on the Cardiac Progressive Care Unit as an RN-BSN but has been shifted to the COVID-19 unit.

“We get one gown per patient all night unless it gets soiled. I reuse the same mask, goggles and helmet with a face shield all night. I have to wipe them off every time I enter and exit a patient’s room.”

Louisiana currently has 9,150 cases of coronavirus across the state with 310 reported deaths. Over 2,170 cases were reported yesterday causing Louisiana to pass Florida for the fifth-most cases in the United States.

“It’s mentally, physically and emotionally draining. People are dying and suffering alone. This disease is unknown. It’s scary.” Barney added.

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McCrea Barney not only showed great leadership in her sport at CU but translated it into her profession. She has shown incredible strength, dedication, selflessness and compassion for her community.

She is taking this horrible situation and finding a way to make it positive.”I like learning hands-on so I have learned a lot from this pandemic,” Barney said. “The only positive thing from this is how the community is supporting healthcare workers and my team has worked together. We’ve become more of a family.”

This article was edited slightly from the original story appearing on the Cumberland University website.

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