December 16, 2017
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UMaine women’s basketball coach undergoes successful skull surgery

By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff
Michael C. York | BDN
Michael C. York | BDN
University of Maine women's basketball coach Richard Barron, pictured in 2015, underwent successful surgery on Thursday in Los Angeles to repair a tiny hole in his skull that has been the cause of numerous health problems in recent months.

University of Maine women’s basketball coach Richard Barron, who in January took a leave of absence from coaching the team, underwent successful surgery on Thursday to have a pin-sized hole just below the brain repaired.

Barron’s wife, Maureen, reported on Twitter Thursday afternoon that he is doing well.

“Richard’s surgery went very well and he’s stable & comfortable. Grateful for your prayers, encouragement and love,” she Tweeted.

Barron underwent what is called a craniotomy at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

“There was a small hole, the size of a pin, right below the brain,” he said in an interview with the BDN last month. “It is rare and has only been diagnosed for 20 years.”

Barron described the procedure to correct the condition thusly:

“They are going to cut into my skull and make a paste out of the residue from it and use that to fill in the hole,” Barron said.

“It’s like doing a spackle job on the side of a house,” he added.

Barron, who had undergone 150 blood tests before receiving the diagnosis, will spend the next couple weeks recuperating in Los Angeles.

Last December, Barron began experiencing problems that included dizziness when standing or walking along with hearing loss and amplified noises. Those issues caused him to relinquish his coaching duties.

He subsequently was diagnosed with two parallel neurological conditions: Demyelinating Peripheral Neuropathy and Vestibular Neuritis.

“The former leaves me with pain, numbness, weakness etc. in my arms and legs. The latter has caused Hyperacusis, Diplacusis and Vestibular Migraines,” he explained in a statement released by UMaine on April 5.

Barron also experienced tingling, numbness and temporary paralysis in his extremities and debilitating migraines and tremors. He also suffered temporary amnesia.

After seeking a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, after visiting the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Barron underwent a CT scan before finally receiving a diagnosis.

Barron said in June that he is unsure if he will return to coaching. He turned UMaine’s program from an America East doormat to conference contenders during his tenure in Orono.

Amy Vachon coached the team last winter after Barron went on his medical leave and Vachon will be leading the Black Bears this season in an interim capacity.

UMaine was 7-9 this season before Vachon took over and guided the team to an 11-7 mark, although all wins and losses are credited to Barron. The Black Bears are 67-34 (.663) over the last three seasons.

Barron, who replaced former UMaine All-American Cindy Blodgett in 2011, was named the 2015 America East Coach of the Year. He has excelled in recruiting international players, including a 2016 senior class that featured six foreign student-athletes.


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