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Madison Academy senior basketball player Cody Baerlocher has plans to play in college after completing his final season with the Mustangs. His ride through high school has been one of “playing through pain.” Photo- Contributed

Madison Academy’s Cody Baerlocher “Plays Through Pain”

MADISON-  Cody Baerlocher is the perfect representation of a good, wholesome, and All-American student-athlete. The Madison Academy senior is also a worthy illustration of a someone who plays through pain to accomplish personal goals and to finish what he intended to do.

At 6-foot-6 and 190 pounds, Baerlocher is a three-year starter for the Class 5A Mustangs playing a wing/guard position while this season has been moved to point guard full time due to the loss of starter Cam Bell who suffered a broken leg prior to the tipoff of the 2022-2023 season. Up to this point in the current season, he has scored 16 points per game along with six rebounds, 1.5 blocked shots, three steals and is shooting 44-percent from the field. He recently committed to sign with the Div. III program at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.

To see this splendid young athlete run up and down the court for Madison Academy is a marvel as he performs at an elite level of play. He’s regarded as one of the best players in the area. At one time, his senior season was in jeopardy as on April 22, 2022, Baerlocher underwent major surgery on his left hip, which caused him to miss about five months of the all-important summer and off-season playing time.

“The surgery was a 100-percent success as I have no pain and possess total movement,” said Baerlocher. “I’m happy just to be out there again having fun with my teammates.”

Typically the tallest boy in each of his classes in school, Baerlocher played soccer, football, baseball and basketball as a youngster.  In the sixth grade he chose to concentrate on basketball and soon made an impression on the coaching staff at Madison Academy. He jumped to the varsity team in his sophomore year and has been a starter beginning his junior season. As he earned All-Area selection, he had the most rebounds and blocked shots on the team and possessed the best grade point average on the squad during the 2021-2022 season all while he dealt with constant pain and discomfort in his left hip.

“It was frustrating as I could not give 100-percent as it hurt to move,” said Baerlocher. “I did not feel as much athleticism as usual. I had to slow down as I noticed a big change in my level of play.”

In November, 2021, the flustered athlete visited a doctor for an examination where it was determined the constant discomfort for Baerlocher could be caused by a severe pulled muscle or even tendonitis. The talented athlete “played through the pain” and had an outstanding season for the Mustangs. After each game he would sit with an icepack on his hip or sit in his family’s hot tub in his home.

Madison Academy’s head athletic trainer, Shane Harris, recommended Baerlocher to visit with Andre Parker, a massage therapist, at Lotus Loft of Huntsville. He underwent treatments from Parker twice a week and those treatments included a deep massage acupuncture and cupping therapy. He added, “I was in pain and couldn’t walk properly as it took me two days to recuperate after each game.”

But Baerlocher knew something just wasn’t right with the way he felt on the basketball court.

After resting his body for two weeks at the completion of the 2022 season for Madison Academy, Baerlocher had an MRI done on his hip where it was discovered he had a torn labrum. He chose to see a second specialist in Birmingham, and, after a battery of tests, the decision was made surgery was needed to repair the injury and get him back on the court. The teen underwent orthoscopic surgery utilizing three small incisions allowing the surgeon to not only repair the torn labrum, but it was also discovered the head of the femur was too large for the socket causing the imperfection to wear on the labrum causing injury. The surgeon shaved down the bone for a perfect fit in the hip socket.

Post-surgery, Baerlocher was on crutches for two weeks and wore what he described a “big brace” for almost two months. His patience wore thin, but he was determined to heal properly and get back to the game he loved.

“My first time on the court was weird at first as I was anxious to see how my hip reacted to my movement,” added Baerlocher. “One thing I noticed when I did finally walk on my own and put pressure on my leg was the fact the pain was gone. I would ice down and stretch after each time on the court. I was apprehensive to go full speed at first, but just worked through in my mind I was going to recover.”

The 18-year old Baerlocher had already experienced injuries that sidelined him from action including a torn meniscus during the summer between his freshman and sophomore seasons. Participating on a travel team while playing in a tournament in Atlanta, he went up for a layup and came down in a weird position causing his injury, which required knee surgery in July 2020. He was missing from the summer league lineup for six weeks.

His success in summer league play has been outstanding including play in the UnderArmour Circuit playing for the “Pro1 Select” team from Huntsville where he’s been a part of numerous tournaments playing against some of the top talent in the Southeast.

The son of Shawn and Tessa Baerlocher and younger brother to two older sisters, Baerlocher also possesses talents in snowboarding and wakesurfing. He has a 4.0 grade point average and is a member of the Science Intern Class at Madison Academy, which is a shadow program for high school students who aspire of advancing into the field of medicine. For Baerlocher, he plans on studying biology and premed in college with his dream job of one day becoming an orthopedic surgeon, a profession he decided to pursue after going through his knee surgery.

Tom Berryman, first-year head coach of the Madison Academy program, said of his star student-athlete, “He’s one of the tallest point guards in the state and he’s certainly capable of scoring more than he currently is, but the move to point guard has forced him to distribute the ball a little more than he has in the past.”

“I want to thank my family, friends, teammates and my doctors for helping me in this trek through high school,” said Baerlocher. “I’ll miss my travel teams after I graduate and go to college. I’m just happy to be out there playing again, without pain.”

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