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Ex-Stars keeper, Stadium soccer coach on ‘very, very long road to recovery’

Former Stadium High School soccer coach John Baretta works with his team on May 25, 2011. Baretta is recovering at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup after being struck by a car and critically injured by a car in Tacoma earlier this month.
Former Stadium High School soccer coach John Baretta works with his team on May 25, 2011. Baretta is recovering at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup after being struck by a car and critically injured by a car in Tacoma earlier this month. Staff file, 2011

The longtime Stadium High School soccer coach who was hit by a car in Tacoma earlier this month is on “a very, very long road to recovery,” his son said Thursday.

John Baretta, 62, was walking home from work as a teacher at Gray Middle School when he was struck while crossing the road March 1 in South Tacoma.

The first Tacoma Stars goalkeeper suffered a traumatic brain injury and a broken left tibia when he was struck by the vehicle, son Chris Baretta said.

“It could have gone either way,” Chris Baretta said. “He’s improved a lot, which is such a blessing.”

John Baretta has moved from Tacoma General Hospital to inpatient rehabilitation at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, where he’s been able to take steps and is responsive to the instructions of nurses and doctors.

“My dad’s built like an ox,” Chris Baretta said. “He’s very strong.”

Chris thanked the community members — including former Tacoma Public Schools students, Stadium soccer players and Tacoma Stars teammates — for reaching out to him and his family in the two weeks since his dad was injured. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Barettas defray the costs of treatment.

“His fight and all the community support and flowers and well wishes have just been amazing and so kind,” Chris said of his father. “He’s brought so many people together through coaching and teaching and just being out in the community. Dad’s really made an impact.”

The 28-year-old driver who struck Baretta is not expected to be charged in the incident at South 36th and Tyler streets.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

To donate

Anyone who wishes to donate to the Barettas can do so at gofundme.com/the-john-baretta-fund.

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